From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: need help checking out a pace-arrow
Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2000 01:03:20 EST
> My college age daughter is going on a one month trip in a pace-arrow this
> summer with her friends. all college age. They are going in a vehicle where
> the father recently died and it has not been used for two years. while one of
> the students is a senior in engineering and quite competent around vehicles I
> want to help the family check it out. I have a TT myself. not a motor home.
> We live south of Baltimore Maryland. Anyone know of a competent and fair
> dealership or repair facility with good reputation in this area? They are
> going in May so plenty of time now. Any suggestions would be welcome.
* New Rubber (tires, hoses, fan belts) Cheap insurance.
* New fluids (oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, etc.)
* Carefully inspect the engine coolant water pump. It is not
uncommon for antifreeze to leak past the pump seal during long
periods of storage. This water will rust the bearings. Pump
failure follows, though it is often delayed. Just long enough to
get 500 miles from home :-) I'd change the pump as a preventative
measure if it's not horribly difficult to get to.
* Carefully check the alternator. They seem to fare the worst in
storage, what with their non-oil-bathed bearings and exposed
* Pull the wheels and look for rust buildup on the bearings and
brake parts, particularly the calipers. It is common for vehicles
in storage to build up thick flaky rust accumulations from
condensation-evaporation cycles. These accumulations can jam the
mechanisms and will cause added wear.
* New batteries unless the existing batteries were new when the
unit was parked. Batteries are cheap enough that I'd replace 'em as
a matter of course.
* Sanitize the water system. Run the system for awhile to make sure
the pump valves haven't dry rotted. Check it carefully for leaks. I
had to repair several leaks in my unit due to dried out seals and
* If the dump valves drag or leak, replace 'em. Cheap and avoids
hassles in that area.
* Carefully check out and clean all burners. Likely to find dirt
dauber nests in the refrigerator and water heater burner tubes.
* Make sure the propane tank's hydro tests are current. many
propane dealers are getting kinda pissy about filling tanks with
expired hydro test dates. Real pisser to get out on the road, run
out of propane and not be able to get the tank filled. Only costs a
few bux to have a tank in good condition recertified.
* Take the thing on several short trips before the long one. This
will root out storage-related problems that are not immediately
apparent. This tactic saves me a LOT of grief on my new used MH
that had been in storage for several years.
* Depending on how old the MH is and how it was stored, you might
need to replace the foam in the bed cushions (if applicable.) The
foam in my MH broke down after a couple of trips and then provided
almost no padding. It appeared to have dry rotted.
* check the generator over carefully, looking in particular for
storage-related problems. Dirt dauber nests in cooling openings,
dry rotted air filter, stuck brushes, gummed gas in the carb. That
kind of stuff. Recommend running the generator under load for
several hours. This will help ferret out dry rotted seals just
waiting to blow and other delayed failures.
* Take a creeper trip under the MH. Look for rust, rot and
storage-related problems. Stuff like rodent damage to wiring and
piping and such.
* Operate everything electrical on the unit to make sure the switch
contacts have not oxidized. I had to repair or replace several
items on my unit where the contacts had oxidized and would not make
contact. Important but little used items like the horn and
emergency flashers need this kind of attention.
* Insist that they make up a preparations checklist to go by when
getting ready for the trip. I have one in an excel spreadsheet that
I'll be happy to send you if you like. It is for my specific
situation but it's a starting place. I use it religiously even
though I have it practically memorized. If a checklist is good
enough for a pilot, it's good enough for us :-)
* Make sure they have a cellphone and a roadside assistance plan.
A bunch of kids in a MH are a prime target for the ripoff artists.
Insist that they call you before authorizing any repairs. Having a
potential rip-off artist talk to a mature adult may make him think
twice. Gives your sixth sense an opportunity to kick in too.
Sorry, can't recommend a dealer in your area - I'm a thousand miles
away. In any event, I'd be surprised to find a mechanic who would
give this unit the kind of detailed attention it needs. Most just
don't want to spend the time. A lot of what is involved in
ferreting out storage-related problems is to spend some time with it
getting the feel for things.