"This is what I did"

Updated January 2015

Note:The following have been submitted by Wanderlodge owners as ideas only, and should notbe considered as suggested solutions to any problem. These ideas have notbeen reviewed, approved or disapproved by Blue Bird Wanderlodge or any other organization. Owners assume any and all risk associated with modifications/fixes made to their coaches..Please CLICK here to share your solutions to problems -or- how you upgraded your "Vintage" Wanderlodge.
Gas & smoke detector The detector alarm for the center furnace would sound within a minute of turn-on, even with all the propane valves and switches turned off. This, of course, rendered these detectors unusable. I took the dinette seat and plywood cover off to access the center detector. Taking the cover off the detector, I discovered a lot of dust and sawdust (from drilling holes above). Vacuuming the dust out seems to have cured my problem. No more false alarms, even after a couple of hours. (11/07)
Art Weatherly '85 PT36
Blow Out Plug and Pressure Gage You guys with the older coaches already have a built in water purge but us newer coach guys donít have all the neat stuff. Here is a quick and easy thing I made up for winterizing. Plug goes on city water/tank fill inlet. Hook the gauge assembly with air hose to it and set at 40 psi. Set engine at high idle initially. Exercise all the drains and faucets one at a time. I also set the wash machine to fill for a while then set it to spin per Splindide instructions. Works good. Inexpensive. Picture
Regards,Jim Scoggins04 M380
Polished Stainless Clad A few months age I made the decision to install 20 guage #8 polished stainless clad on our 90 WB-40. This would require placing the stainless about 121/4 inches from the bottom of the coach up to an existing paint line. I measured, created scale drawings and embarked upon finding a fab shop to do the work. Up and down the East coast and the central USA I tried to find someone to fab the metal. No luck. So, being crafty I decided to take on the project myself. In order to do so, I found a used sheer which I purchased for $700. I will sell it when I am finished with this project. I ordered the metal from Phoenix Metals and started cutting parts. Everything went fine until I had to fab inside 90 degree angles, radius and drill holes in this material. I found that it does not cut well with saw blades, doesn' t file well, doesn't drill well and is generally extremely difficult to work with. After trying several things, I purchased a battery powered jig saw, 30 blades at 32 teeth per inch and wet cut the areas which could not be cut with the sheer. Success, to a degree. Some filing needed. It has been three weeks now and the right side is completed. I must say it looks fabulous indeed. Gotta do the left side next. Then the very difficult task of fabricating metal for the rear of the coach begins, to include a total makeover of the rear lights. I will install new LED lighting and new halogen reverse lights inlaid in polished stainless. I can't forget about the slight radius in the engine hatch. How did I attach the metal to the coach? Weldwood contact cement and NP1 caulk. You only get one chance to apply the metal or you start over. Starting over is not a good thing. I also did the trailer which we use to haul my wifes 1992 Z-28 Convertible around. You know she just has to have that thing with her. Once in awhile I get to take my 1973 Volvo 1800ES. Everything I have is old except my wife. When I finish I will post pictures somewhere for interested parties. The Ol' coach is named Smoke N Mirrors, a name drawn from its smokey silver and grey metalic color and polished stainless clad. The illusion---a much newer looking coach. Unless you have a high level of mechanical ability I would not suggest you try this. It has been fun but I will not do it again.
Leroy Eckert, 1990 Wanderlodge WB-40
Exhaust Blankets had a heck of a time finding exhaust blankets for my 1988 bbwlwb after chasing hitco, BB offered me a price of $700 for each blanket, and many other leads I found Advanced Thermal Products. They have patterns back to 1972! www.atpwrap.com Jim Riordan
Hydronic heating system We replaced the Primus gas system with a Wabasto scholastic diesel fired system. The exchange wasn't cheap but it works great. A side benefit was to attach a quick disconnect to the old gas line and connect it to a large portable grill and bean pot burner. It's great for Talladega. This was done by Coachworks in Columbus, GA. Ceiling upgrade-- Classic Coach Works in Lakland, FL. fabricated and fitted an oak mirrored and lighted ceiling in our coach. This covers the a/c vents and looks fabulous. It also adds beautiful evening lighting. Generator and related cooling system-- I recently removed all of the components of the Powertech generator system in order to repaint and reinsulate the bay and replace all coolant hoses. This idea turned out to be a real job. It took almost 50LF of coolant hose run through and around the front of the coach. Now the whole system looks brand new. I also solved another problem while in the hole. The generator starter power and ground wires(those one guage wires that scratch, bend, and tear up everything in sight when the generator moves in and out)were replaced with one guage welding cable. It is flexible, and moves in and out beautifully.

Leroy Eckert 1990 Wanderlodge WB-40

Inverter upgrade wiring WHEN I REPLACED MY INVERTER WITH A PRO-SINE 1800, I INSTALLED 2 FOUR POLE DOUBLE THROW RELAYS IN A NEW BOX NEXT TO MY ELECTRICAL PANEL SO THAT WHEN THE COACH IS ON THE INVERTER, ALMOST EVERY OUTLET IN THE COACH DEFAULTS TO THE INVERTER. THIS IS VERY HANDY IN MY 85 PT-40
Tail Lights WITH A LITTLE CREATIVE SIRING, YOU CAN REPLACE THOSE DULL DINGY TAIL LIGHTS ON THE 80 THROUGH 86 YEAR COACHES WITH NEW MODERN LED STYLE UNITS. SOME MODIFICATION TO THE PACKAGE HOUSING MAY BE REQUIRED BUT THEY ARE BRIGHT LIKE THE SUN EVEN DURING THE DAY
Paint your caoch JUST WANTED TO PASS ON A COMPANY I HAVE HAD PAINTING MY COACHES FOR ABOUTTEN YEARS. THE MAN WHO OWNS IT IS GLEN FRANKLIN AND THE NAME OF HISCOMPANY IS "SHOWCOACH". HE HAS ABOUT TEN ACRES JUST EAST OF LAKELAND,FLORIDA WITH HIS HOME AND BUSINESS. THERE IS ROOM TO CAMP WHILE YOURPAINT WORK IS BEING DONE. HE HAS A 65 FOOT PAINT BOOTH AND IS VERYEXPERIENCED AT PAINT WORK ON BLUEBIRDS AND OTHER HIGH LINE COACHES.SHOWCOACH 3865 STATE ROAD 542 EAST LAKELAND, FLORIDA 863-669-1256

BEN WATKINS

Sanitizing the fresh water tank and plumbing When your fresh water tank is about 1/2 full, mix a ratio of 1/4-cup of non-scented liquid household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) with one gallon of fresh water. Make up one gallon of chlorine-water solution for every 15 gallons of fresh water tank capacity. That's around 7 gallons for a 110 gallon fresh water tank. Keep in mind that this is a solution, NOT straight bleach! Next, pour the chlorine-water solution directly into the filler hose or tank (if you have a clean-out plate on top of the tank) and fill the fresh water tank with fresh water. Remove or bypass your water filters. Turn on the water pump and open every faucet in the RV, including the exterior faucets and showerheads. Allow the solution to pump through the system to the toilet, through the water heater, and through all of the hot and cold faucets until the smell of chlorine is present at all of the fixtures. You can open the faucets one-by-one or all at once. To sanitize the inlet assembly, use a small wood dowel or a pencil eraser and push in on the check valve spring, allowing the solution to pump out through the city water inlet until the chlorine odor is detected there too. Be careful not to let the spray ruin your clothes- it will bleach colored clothing!!! Close all of the faucets and turn off the water pump. Allow the treated water to remain in the tank and plumbing system for 4 hours. This should disinfect all plumbing and fittings to a residual level of 50 ppm . After 4 hours, drain the freshwater tank and top it off with fresh water. Don't allow the chlorinated solution to sit longer than four hours in the fresh water system as it can damage your pump components. If a 100 ppm concentration is needed, use 1/2-cup of bleach instead of 1/4-cup with each gallon of the solution and let it stand for ONLY two hours. It's a good idea to do this at the beginning of the season, when you flush the pink antifreeze (if you live in the north) or annually to prevent the colonization of your freshwater system by some bad little critters ;-)
Shane Fedeli '85 PT40
Parts and Service We cater to the Bluebird owners for parts and services We rebuild electroluminescent Dash Panels Primus Boilers Parts full line available Primus 2490 2480 and 2470 Fluorescent ballasts available Electroluminescent inverters available Aquapro single point battery watering systems Dupree Products tel 1-888-668-4288
Battery watering system I just had Ralph F. install a battery watering system with which we are both very satisfied. You can view it at "http://www.dupreeproducts.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=5" and it is in Niagara Falls, ON. The caps are about $10 each + -, and the pump is about the same. It has just been installed and we have no experience with it but it sure makes adding water a snap. Wallace& Faye Craig 85WL PT40
Primus Heat System FOR ALL THE BLUEBIRD OWNERS WHO HAVE BEEN TOLD PARTS FOR THEIR PRIMUSHEAT SYSTEM WERE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT THEY HAD TO BE ORDERED FROM EUROPELET ME SAY BUNK!!!LAST WEEK I HAD MY PRIMUS HEAT SYSTEM SERVICED BY A COMPANY IN ELKHART,INDIANA AND THEY DID EXCELLENT WORK.THIS IS THE SAME PEOPLE WHO DESIGNED THE PRIMUS SYSTEM FOR BLUEBIRD.ALL PARTS INCLUDING SWITCHES, PUMPS, AND BOILERS ARE AVAILABLE AS WE ASINFORMATION FROM THE MAN WHO WROTE THE BOOK ON SERVICE FOR PRIMUS.THEIR E-MAIL ADDRESS IS primusparts@aol.comFOR SERVICE CONTACT MAR-DEX DISTRIBUTING, INC.1811 STERLING AVE.ELKHART, IN 46516OFFICE 574-293-4328FAX 574-293-7297THEIR BUILDING NOT IN A FANCY LOCATION, BUT THEY SURE GET THE JOB DONE. THE BUILDING IS BIG ENOUGH TO PARK YOUR COACH INSIDE FOR SERVICE.BEN WATKINS
Trace battery charger I recently acquired a '99 LX with the 3000 watt Trace inverter. When I was buying the coach, the batteries were dead and they had the inverter charging the batteries. After a while the circuit breaker on the inverter tripped and the charging stopped. Some time later I reset the breakerthinking everytihing would be fine. They brought out a big battery charger and charged the batteries. In the middle of the night the batteries went dead. The seller replaced the batteries in the morning and we departed for our cross country trip home. After parking the coach at home and connecting to shore power I let it sit for over a week only to find that the batteries were dead again. The inverter circuit breaker was tripped again. I reset it and this time keeping track of things it started charging at 140 amps. A short time later I noticed that it had stopped charging and the breaker was tripped again.

In looking into the problem, I removed the cover on the inverter and let it run with no cover. It charged at 140 amps until the batteries were charged enough to back off the charge rate. I determined that the circuit breaker is a thermal type circuit breaker, and it will trip at much less than rated capacity if the conditions are such that it gets too hot. The corner of the case it sits in is a dead zone in terms of cooling air circulation, which explained why the breaker was getting hot and tripping when it should not have.

My fix was to make a bunch of small holes, i.e. an array of 10 holes about 3/16 dia. in the cover above the circuit breaker to let out the hot air and keep the circuit breaker cool by letting the hot air out. Since then I have had no problems at all with the circuit breaker tripping even under full charging load.Leonard Jensen '99 LX

Back up camera reverse horizontal Hello from the Dream_35_team in Oklahoma! There has been much talk about installing new back up cameras, only to find that the horizontal picture is reversed. The manual I put together in .pdf format shows how to take care of this problem. Hope it helps those of us with Vintage Birds. Picture Picture
Safe travels, Ralph Fullenwider Dream_35 '85FC35 in Oklahoma Email
The original Ridewell tag axle hub caps on our 84 PT36 were seeping and the sight glass/oil fill seal. Ridewell hub caps do not have a replaceable sight glass seals and new hub caps were $86 each. Since I had to replace the hub caps anyway, I replaced them with Stemco units at a cost of $51 each. Money was not the issue here, but rather, the fact the Stemco hub caps have a replaceable sight glass and seal. This is a do it yourself job if you have an air tool that develops over 450 lb. ft. of torque because it is necessary to remove the hub cap cover from the wheel lugs to remove the hub cap. Here's a heads up, the ring that holds the hub cap cover to the wheel has six larger holes to fit over the lug nuts and four smaller holes that allow the lug nuts to hold the ring and thus the hub cap cover in place, its good to remember this when removing and replacing the ring. Also, the lug nuts on the driver's side of the coach have left hand threads. The Ridewell part number is A-3262-D-368 and the Stemco replacement number is SL 340-4119. To check before ordering, your tag axle hub cap should have an eight bolt pattern with a bolt center to bolt center distance of seven inches. The replacement number is good for 1983 through 1986 PT36 and PT40 models and probable later PT models with the same bolt pattern and center to center distance. Stemco's phone number is 800/527-8492 and the replacement part number does not show in any routine truck parts cross referencecatalog because of the rare size."
Regards,Jim Scoggins 1986 PT40
Bottle Opener 1986 PT40This is really high tech! I installed a bottle opener in the front bay. Thetwo round magnets just below the opener catches the caps and keeps them offthe ground. See picture.Regards,Jim Scoggins
Engine Bay Electrical Outlet 1986 PT40I disconnected the battery heaters in the engine bay. I added a conventionalelectrical socket thus providing an additional source of 120v power outsidethe coach.See picture.Regards,Jim Scoggins
Fantastic Fan 1986 PT40Per Dan Sunderland?s idea I installed a fantastic fan in place of the OEMCoolmatic. This allows significantly more natural light as it functions as asky light in addition to the fan. Fantastic sent me a clear cover tomaximize the light. It cleans up the roof line slightly, easy to operate,and has a rain sensor to close the lid. See picture.Regards,Jim Scoggins
Fuel Nozzle Retainer1986 PT40The fuel filler pipe is at the wrong angle to fill the tank without holdingthe nozzle.This is particularly aggravating on a cold windy day, when it is raining orwhen one would like to do something else, i.e. clean the windshield. I keepa bungee handy to hold the fuel nozzle. See picture.Regards,Jim Scoggins
Battery Door Support 1986 PT40.When the gas shocks on the battery door got too weak to support the door Icut two pieces of copper pipe to fit. When the door opens the supports clickinto place. Inexpensive and effective. See pictureRegards,Jim Scoggins
Hot Water Heater Drain 1986 PT40A previous owner had disconnected the air drain valve to the hot waterheater and jury rigged piping that was susceptible to leaks. I installed asimple boiler drain with a line going outside the coach. Simple is sometimesbetter. See picture. For winterizing, I reach in and open the valve. By theway, one of my gripes about our older birds is the storage of fresh and hotwater above the floor line. the hot water heater area and fresh water tankshould be given a frequent peek. A minor leak, over time, can causesignificant damage.Regards,Jim Scoggins
Fuel Filler Splashback Fix This fix applies to a common problem on most all of our birds: filling the tank (especially from a high-volume pump) causes it to pressurize, and when the nozzle shuts off you get a large amount of fuel spraying back out of the fill tube.The reason is simple, the "venturi effect" from the fuel spraying down the fill pipe pulls air down with it, pressurizing the tank. Diesel fuel having a tendency to foam, you have a layer of pressurized foam at the top of the tank. When the air-pump (venturi effect) stops, the pressure must equalize with the outside world, and out comes your pressurized foam.The best method would be to add a large (5/8 will work) tube from the top of your tank to re-enter the filler neck about 3" below the top of the f iller neck: an equalizing tube. The vent/equalizing tube will prevent pressurization in the fuel tank. That requires some welding work which is only feasible if you can either remove the neck or keep the neck filled with CO2 and know how to do it.There is a second best method which I have used very sucessfully in an FC, it might need modification for pushers as it needs to overflow to the ground:On an FC, remove the bedroom floor carpet enough to find the access plate for the fuel tank sending unit (about 4' forward of the rear wall in the center of the floor). Remove the access plate. Now remove one of the spare ports in the top of the tank (arranged around the sending unit) and install a brass elbow, 1/2" NPT (I think) to 5/8" Parker Push-Lock tubing (approved for diesel fuel, rubber with a cloth protective braid, available at truck parts supplier and probably NAPA). Run the tubing up the filler neck to the top (difficult, but can be fished from behind the coach) and wire-tie it to the neck. At the top, allow it to bed downward, leave about 4"-6" of drop and secure with wire-ties inside the coach body. If you wish to run it all of the way to the bottom of the tank (at the outlet end possibly in a pusher), you will want to install a vacuum breaker at the top to avoid siphoning fuel out when topped-up (I went with the 4" drop).I have been able to fill my coach with flyleaf (60gpm) pumps at full lock, they snap off when full with only a few drips from the new overflow tube, and my toad (and shoes) remain clean and dry. Your mileage may vary. This might not comply with all of the EPA or DOT codes, but neither (probably) does spraying fuel all over the ramp each time you fuel.

I picked up the splashback fix page that BB handed out after RIV, and (incorrect dimension notwithstanding) it will not work in either of our FCs. This fix has saved me many a trip with oil-dry at truck stops this past year, I wish I had thought of it years sooner. For your pusher, you can probably get to both ends of your filler neck, and simply un-screw it from the tank, and add an elbow near the top of the tube for the top-end of the new vent/equalization line, the correct way to do it (and standard design for fuel tank filler necks iin cars and trucks). I haven't had the opportunity to add one to a PT yet and see what is involved, but would love your feedback on this possibility. The new M380 has a proper equalization tube from the tank to the filler neck. - Jeff Miller

Battery Door Latch1986 PT40.A less than smart mech sprung the battery door by pulling up on it withoutreleasing the catch at the other end. This caused the leading edge of thedoor to be splayed outward and I used an unsightly bungee to hold the doorclosed for a time. I drilled a hole through the upright and into the doorthe size of an aluminum gutter nail to hold it closed. Inexpensive andeffective.See picture.Regards,Jim Scoggins
Additional Air Tool Outlet I installed an air hose outlet in rear end of coach where the Schrader valveis per ideas of other bird owners (Gary Minker/Steve Saraga?s). Purportedly,this air point allows greater volume for air tools as it pulls off all threebig tanks vice just one per the OEM air point in the side bay. By installinga ?T? fitting one is able to retain the regular air fill valve plus have theadded convenience of an additional outlet to run air tools. Less than $10.00and 15 minutes. Picture Regards,Jim Scoggins
Air Tank Lanyard Drain Valves I installed lanyard actuated air valves in the place of the original petcockair valves on all four air tanks per the idea I got from Dan Sunderland.Careful placement of the lanyards allows one to purge the air tanks ofmoisture more frequently as it is not necessary to crawl underneath thecoach. $4.47 ea from Truck Pro, Macon, GA. Approx 2 hours to install. PictureRegards,Jim Scoggins
Cut off dinette 1986 PT40The dinette was cut off eight inches thus widening the passage way andallowing more room in the kitchen. PictureRegards,Jim Scoggins
Line for fuel I have an 81 35 fc that has seen some rough days but slowly I'm going over different things. All new water lines this season. But the one thing that was a real nite mare was the fuel problems. I got stranded in the middle of a Big Bend in Texas. The coach acted like it was out of fuel tho the guage ,which was always correct, said I still had a half tank.The closest garage said they would show up for three grand. I had my tow along and with a few trips was able to dumped in about 15 gallons and after that never let the tank get below half and made it home fine. I found out that the older coaches had 3/4" black pipe for the fuel pick up and that they can rust and get holes in them. The solution was to solder 1/4" copper line onto the end of the elbow that enters the tank. I cut these about 1" short of the bottom of the tank and put them inside of the old black pipe. Now if I could find someone to repaint my bird. The one bid I got so far was a little under ten grand. Ouch!Ted Harms
Pneumatic valve for step/gen. drawer The pneumatic valve that controls the cylinder to my entry step gave up the ghost this year. I called BB for a replacement and cost. They gave me a replacement cost of $260.00 plus shipping. I thought I would shop around. The OEM valve was mfg by Ingersoll Rand. Their customer service said the valve was no longer available through Ingersoll.They had sold that division to another company. After making further inquiries, I found the valve was available from the new company at a cost of 228.00 plus shipping.I thought I would shop around some more. Looking in the Grainger Industrial Supply catalog I found what I needed. This is an Alpha valve manufactured by Ingersoll Rand. It is a double solenoid, 4 way, 2 position valve part #A212SD-012-D. The cost is $88.30 plus tax. This valve by the way is a direct crossover for the original valve.I would also recommend that a weather tight connector be purchased for the double coils on this valve. A connector with 36" molded wire is available from Grainger, part #2G503. Cost is 10.01 plus tax, and two will be needed. The step control valve can be replaced for approx. $110.00. You may wish to add flow controls on the exhaust ports of the above valve. These are available from Grainger, part #4ZJ85. The flow controls will let you adjust the speed at which your step runs out/in. All of the above parts can be used to replace the controls on the genset drawer. The part numbers here are for 1/4" pipe size. Larry Holland
Air dump valves Note to all. If you have a 1995 or older bluebird with air dump valvesthat stick there is a fix.. The new ones we make never stick and are adirect replacement for your old style, also on another post someoneposted that to install the electric valves on an older coach you onlyhad to unbolt? the valves and install new ones. Bluebird has never usedthe cheap valve that unbolts, so that info is wrong...call randy dupree @1-352-495-9459 to order original equipment waste valve parts forbluebirds. Now as far as bluebird changing to another valve, not true! Keepyour bluebirds quality with O.E. parts...
RESOLVE DUMP VALVE PROBLEMSIf your coach has those troublesome air operated dump valves or still has those manual dump valves, you will be "smiles" ahead by converting to trouble free 12 volt electric dump valves by Phase Four. These valves are absolutely trouble free, quiet, quick, and guaranteed for 5 years! I have a '87 PT-40 which HAD air valves and they were a constant source of headaches for me......not having accessory air when I wanted to dump, sticking valves, leaking seals, and expensive to repair. I switched to the electric valves nearly 2 years ago and have not had any problems whatsoever (and we are full-timers, so they get used a lot). The installation is unbelievably easy.....nothing complicated and no special tools required. And, if you currently have manual valves, no plumbing cuts or modifications are needed......simply unbolt the old valves and bolt in the new ones (and run a 12 volt source to the valves). If you have the air valves, you will need to cut them out (simple PVC cut) and install the new ones. When I did my conversion, I took that opportunity to install a new cross pipe (from black valve to gray valve) and installed sewer hose connections on the right side as well as the left side of the coach, thus allowing sewage dump from either side....I cannot tell you how many times that has saved me from having to crank the coach and move around to a sewage dump at some misconfigured camp grounds.

The folks at Phase Four Industries have truly invented a product which makes the horrible job of dumping more pleasurable. Their product is installed from the factory by most all high-line Motorcoach manufacturers, and I hear that Blue Bird plans to use them very soon.

If you are interested in upgrading your dump system, send me an email. Phase Four has authorized me as an after-market dealer. Not only can I supply the valves to you but I can walk you through the installation on your Bird. It is EASY! For more information, email me at windsor837@cs.com".

Have a Nice Day! from Wayne

Air dryer (rebuild kits)Hello from the Dream 35 Team: The air would not come up unless I loosened the fitting on the purge drain valve on the air dryer. Here are the part numbers and pricing I found, oh! and service data found on the net from Bendix. Service data booklet for the ad1 and ad2 Bendix air drier: (excellent!) http://bendix.com/downloads/service_data_sheet/Sd082403C.pdfI called Bendix for pricing and for the desiccant re build kit it was $229.72. For the ad-2 purge valve kit, pricing was $17.82.I found that on the Bluebird factory web site that a local distributor was O'Reilly's auto parts, here is what I found. Bendix part number #287313 Desiccant cartridge replacement kit: $128.99 (this is for the AD-2) Bendix part number #287053 AD-2 purge valve maintenance kit: $10.00 Dream 35 is an '85 35FC.Safe travels to all!Dream 35 TeamRalph and CharoletteFullenwider
1986 PT40 with Sargent and Greenleaf Many times folks get a bird and can't get the safe opened. The previous owner may not have passed on the instructions. If the previous owner did not change the factory set on the safe: Bet on the come that the factory combo is still set i.e. no one put in a new combo. Check all your old keys around the bus. If the dial spins freely you may not need it. If your safe is a Sargent and Greenleaf this may work: Turn dial left 4 turns stopping on 50. Turn dial right until bolt retracts. If this does not work: Turn dial left,stopping when 25 is aligned with the opening index the 4th time. Turn dial to right stopping on 50 when aligned the third time. Turn dial to left stopping on 25 the second time. Turn dial slowly to the right until the bolt retracts. If this doesn't work try the above sequence using all 50's If none of this works try to find someone on the group in about thesame year and same brand safe and have them copy and send the instructionsCall Bennie at Bluebird and see if they have the factory settings forthe lock.
Regards,Jim Scoggins
Paint and Collision Repair Center in Macon GA. I come from the Blue Bird family because I worked there for 12 years in the paint department before i left to start my business. We have painted a number of coaches for Wanderlodge mostly the LTC line but we did paint some LXIs for them when they were behind. Mike Harris (INDUSTRIAL REFINISH TECH.) IRT FOR SHORTps. We can repaint vintage birds and make them look like a million1-478-745-2990
Air lines and vice gripsAt the Rally in the valley the discussion came up about crimping off an air line to a blown air bag in order to level it up for a short ride to get itrepaired. The other day I was checking on installing new brake lines. Theguy told me that an easy way to cap off a blown brake hose is to fold theline over and put the squeeze on it with some vise grips. The idea here isto provide sufficient pressure to release the brakes, get off the side ofthe road, and drive the coach a short distance for repairs.Carry those vise grips, guys!Probably work for a runny nose also :>)

Regards,Jim Scoggins

Fuel mileage thingy
Just sharing some thoughts with everyone.A fellow asked me about the 6 plus mpg I get and the 4mpg he gets-- after a600 mile check. He also asked me about a nitrogen bottle I carry. We bothhave 86PT 40's-- he pulls a 3/4 ton Chevy van and I pull a motorcycletrailer. My response to him......I carry a 60 cu ft nitrogen bottle with a regulator--learned this from GaryMinker-- use it to top off my tires after sitting in a campground for awhile-- the on board engine compressor does not have the oomph to filleasily to the 115 and 110 psi that I need for the tiresthe initial expense is quite high --$250-- you buy the bottle andregulator-- then, when needed, stop by any welding shop -- and exchange yourempty bottle for a full one.While 4mpg is low it is not unusual. However,600 miles is not enough milesto get a good mpg check due to the different ways the coach sits atrefueling stops and different definitions of full-- how much water is in thetank etc--That being said, good mileage come from a variety of things:limiting the weight and barn door effect of a tow vehicle -- yours is prettybig-- my motorcycle and trailer weighs 2000lb but have gone to a 3100 LBjeep.Pay strict attention to tire pressures, thump the tires 2-3 times/day, checkpressures first thing every day on the road until you are confident you canidentify a low tire, then check pressure every other day-- 115 up front 110and 95 in drives and tag are my choices-- you need the higher pressures forthese heavy coaches-- hence the nitrogen bottle. Some guys run 120 psi allthe time --for safety and mileage considerations. I tend to carry tirepressure just shy of a hard crash on highway cracks-- a firm thump is good.Drastically reducing the weight of the bus -- I don't do this -- it's at maxgrossChange engine oil fairly frequently-- I tend to change mine every 8000 milesor so. Synthetic oil will give better mileage but much less miles / dollar.Synthetic oil still gets dirty. I don't think it's worth the expense. I useRotella 40w.Your engine manual says most economical cruise is between 1400-1800 rpm --keep it there -- 1800 is 63-64 mph -- I run at 1750 rpm-- 62mph. My mileagewas worse at lower rpms/57mph due to, I think, more down shifting and fancoming on more often. Within reason, slightly faster is better.Use the cruise control -- it gives 7% better economy when used all the timeConversely, don't use the cruise control if it is not working properly andsurging-- note the boost gage -- it should be fairly steadyuse a diesel additive that cleans the injectors-- I use HowesUse good quality diesel fuel-- Flying J, Petro, Wilco-- I prefer Flying J --has lubricants already in it.In rolling hills keep as high a speed as possible, up to 1800rpm, to top thehills without coming out of lockout and or down shiftingas high a speed as possible also gives increased ram air over the radiatorthus limiting the fan kicking in -- I'm told this fan set up we have willpull about 60 hp.Time traffic lights so you don't have to come to a complete stop-- we use alot of fuel getting goingbe sure you have clean fuel and air filters-- induction system has to workharder to pull stuff through a dirty filter.Use synthetic fluids in transmission and drive tire gear case-- I think Igot an increase of 1/2-3/4 mph from synthetic trans fluid alone. Change tosynthetics at the normal service interval.Use synthetic gear oil in front bearings.Top off the fuel tank when you know it is going to sit a while-- this limitscondensation-- in the tank.If you have to climb a hill -- climb at 2000-2100 rpm --downshift and do notallow the engine to lug down.Cooler, denser air is good-- winter trips, drive at night, and in therain,-- I drive when I need to!High alternator loads decrease mileage-- this mitigates against nightdriving with a godzillion lights on.Air conditioner on or off? Increased alternator loads-- surely, but thereare some who subscribe to the theory that a running chassis air conditionerwill burn less fuel than running with open windows-- less parasitic dragfrom the vacuum created from the open windows. I think this is true but nowwe are into nit-noids. My air conditioner runs most of the timeDo these things and over time you will see an improvement. I think you willalso find that fuel costs seems to be the least of the expense of runningone of these things. It is important to keep track of it so that you know ifyour equipment is running right.After the pressure in the bottle falls below what is needed for your birdtires, work your way down through the pressure requirements of your trucks,cars, motorcycles, trailers, and bikes. It's a good thing to do in thosetires that sit a lot.Some of us have replaced all the ambient air in our tires with nitrogen (forabout $50) and use only our nitrogen bottles to top of the tires. Why?Nitrogen has long been the standard in tires and shocks in aircraft,motorcycles, and race cars.It is less susceptible to pressure change as the result of heat or altitudechange but the main reason is because it is dry. I hear folks worry aboutletting their RV tires being exposed to moisture by sitting for long periodsin water. Yet these same conscientious folks will fill their tires fromtruck stops that pay little attention to the quality of their compressedair. Worse yet are the small tankless compressors that inject moisture, tosit, in the tires, till the deterioration process of the tire is complete.Is all this talk about moisture a nitnoid. Probably. But why not have aclean, dry medium to use why having the convenience of sufficient highpressure gas?See picture. Another Bird guy, Harry Fields, added a quick disconnect to theair hose. Makes it easier to store the regulator so I'll change mine out.Also, you get better fuel mileage if you have good Karma and your heart ispure :>) This lets out most of us.
Potential Wiring Problem in brake light circuit of '90 and later WBWLs.
The brake light circuit runs from a battery source, through Chassis PlugB (on a small connector pin ) to the two air switches, then back throughthe same Chassis Plug on an adjacent small pin to terminal block 6 andthen to the tail lights. This model of coach has the 4 Volvo style taillights with 2 bulbs for each of the four brake lights for a total of 8bulbs. This shouldn't be a big problem until you add a tow vehicle withseveral more lights and 20 feet of wire which really increases theload. Now the design problem - the two small adjacent pins in theChassis Plug are about 18 guage and are within 1/8 inch of each otherwhich means the heat builds up both to and from the switches. Whileidling along in heavy traffic with constant brake applications the hotwires could be smelled just before they burned.When mine burned the wires in this connector, I lost all brakelights.,

THE FIX; I ran a 14 guage wire from a battery terminal above theair switches through a Wagner 30 Amp circuit breaker to all the airswitches. I then ran the same size wire through the floor with agrommet next to the chassis plug and over to the #6 terminal strip postwhich goes to the tail lights. I also recreated a smaller wire from theload side of the air switches to the cruise control relay. (this smallercicuit disconnects the cruise control as soon as the brakes areapplied). You could use a relay if you change it before they heat upand distort the plastic Chassis Plug.Russell in BlueBird Customer Service was well aware of thisproblem and was quite helpful. bjohnan@attglobal.net

134A conversion1986 PT40
The air conditioning has gradually deteriorated in my coach. Leaking R12into the atmosphere and the expense of replacement R12 drove me toward aconversion attempt. Factory conversion, while effective, is expensive($3500-4000 -- they do replace all the plumbing and all components --compressor, dryer, evaporator etc., etc)After some discussion with my local trusty mech at the Highway Garage,Stafford, VA, we decided to try a less expensive approach that while not aperfect solution, gets it done.
Discussion with the factory reps indicate they charged the system with 5-6lbs. of R12 and then watched the bubbles in the dryer. Note: watchingbubbles is not effective for 134. Accordingly, using the 80% conversion wefigured somewhere between four/five lbs. would be needed.
We installed a new dryer (in passenger overhead--has the sight gage). Thesystem was evacuated, checked to see if it would hold vacuum, and filledwith 4.5 lbs. of 134A, A/C oil, and leak check dye (while visible to the eyeit is best to use a black light). It was a 90 degree day, sea level--pressures were 36 and 247 for low/ high side.
So far, so good. While one cannot hang meat it seems to be working fine.
Wouldn't you know it. After completing the evolution, the long time engineerguru (Guy Moulder) from the factory called. He said the system was a 6 LBsystem and I should therefore have 4.8 lbs. of 134A in the system.
Total expense was a little over $400.
Now I have a base line. I will explore running new and modern plumbingwhen/if the need arises.
Regards,Jim Scoggins
We replaced our decaying 7.5 kw Kohler propane generator with a new Kubota diesel 8 kw unit from Power Tech located in Leesburg, FL. The model installed by the factory was a CD 8 kw TE (totally enclosed). This was the largest Power Tech enclosed model we could fit in the existing compartment. The generator was mounted with the long axis rotated 90 degrees from the original Kohler. It was tight but works fine. I would not recommend a diesel without the sound deadening cabinet. The folks at the factory were excellent to work with and allowed us to stay in the coach with power supplied by them. Very glad we did it. ... Eric Johnson
The electric heater in the bath of our 84 PT is marginal and the LP heat is non-existent because the bath LP thermostat controls an in-line duct booster and not the furnace. Thus the thermostat may call for heat but nothing happens because the LP furnace is not running. By accident, I discovered that some
coaches were modified by assembly workers to overcome this problem by installing a temperature sensing switch (now called a snap disc) in the furnace outlet duct to the living space and spliced the switch wires into the sending wire from the bath thermostat to the relay (creme plastic box) controlling the booster motor. Thus the bath thermostat may call for heat but the duct booster will only operate if the furnace is running. If you set the bath thermostat to 80 degrees it will always call for heat and the duct booster will run whenever the LP furnace is operating, providing a toasty bath.

From w w Grainger get Snap Disc Fan Control part number 2E245 (on at 110 degrees, off at 90 degrees) Identify the color code of the sending wire for the bath thermostat (lower left wire when viewed from thermostat front) and mark the wire in the furnace compartment where it goes to the booster duct relay. Drill a 1" hole in the top left side of the furnace duct (viewed from the front) going to the living space and screw in the snap. Cut the wire from the thermostat at a convenient point and connect the wires from the snap disc. Voila, its finished. I used bullet connectors so I could easily re-connect the cut wire if I made a mistake. Additionally, I recommend you remove the reducer the factory installed where the flexible aluminum duct joins the furnace. In actual practice this modification works well and there will be a noticeable increase in bath temperature. Bob Dilks bjmdtexoma-ok.com

Always feel the brake pedal to be kind of spongy even after bleedingor after few stops in a row. While doing a full brake job on my 1972 wanderlodge I notice that there were quite few places where air could not escape even with the bleeder open; at the rear cylinders, the bleeder leave 25% of the air trapped at the top of the cylinder because the bleeder hole is at 25% from the top! multiply that 4 time and you got a full cylinder of air in the system!!! On the front axle no problem with the forward cylinder but the reward cylinder can't get rid of any air because the piston & cup are at the top position, and the bleeder is at the bottom! This allow an extra quantity of condensation to be produce and that condensation lay at the bottom of those cylinders= rust, seizing, leak, poor braking performance.

Here what I did; On the rear cylinder I installed a 3/16" soft copper tube with a bend in it where the end is near the top of the cylinder & cut at an angle to pick up the air at the very top of the cylinder, the other end fit snug in the bleeder hole.( I put a dat of epoxy on the tube) the cup stop before coming in contact with the tube. PICT: r cylinder w tube.jpg

The front cylinder is bolted to the backing plate as in: f.cyl position.jpg. The way I managed to have the air to escape is with a 3/16" nylon tube pushed in the bleeder hole, & the other end with the end of the spring passed trough the nylon tube to hold it against the cup where the air can be pushed out trough the nylon tube as in: one solution.jpg

So far, I drove the Wanderlodge 350 miles and used road going trough town in the purpose of testing the brake, I can say it's an improvement of 50% + I had a 3K toad in tow.

Time will tell if this help with the cylinder life span!!!
Hope it help
Wrench

Henry Leblanc <metricwrench@worldnet.att.net>

After getting some great advice concerning roof leakshere. I made a good deal of progress stopping them. There was one area that wasn't addressed however. The mounting bolts holding the roof luggage rack rail had worked loose in two places elongating the holes. I oversized the bolts by a 1/16 of an inch and tapped the hole in the roof. I liberally applied sealant around the new bolts and the leaks have stopped. Make sure you drill out the holes in the rack itself so that the bolts pass cleanly through and DO NOT thread into the RACK. The bolts must tighten to the roof not the rack to be water tight. brath@compuserve.com
I resorted to an old trick when trying to find a short in the instrument wiringof our Wanderlodge. Make a "safe fuse" from a 12 volt light bulb in a socket with wires and clip leads attached. Provided the 12 volt circuit has a fuse that is blown connect the bulb in place of the fuse. With little or no load on the circuit the bulbs filament acts like a low resistance (like a good fuse). If a short circuit occurs in the wiring the bulb will light and drop the 12 volts across it in place of blowing a fuse. I use one or more brake lamps (type 1157) in parallel depending on the circuits normal load. You can use this method to discover the bad wiring in a harness or bundle by moving the suspect wires. When the test light lights you have located the short and can fix it without blowing fuses. This method is usefull when you can't isolate all the loads on a circuit (like instrument lights) and use an ohm meter. You should be familair with automotive electrical wiring to use this method. Always be carefull when working on live circuits even though it's 12 volts you could be hurt because of the current available. Richard Filia, AA1Z, Penngrove, CA, e-mail: rfilia@boot.com
Our 78 Wanderlodge had a seperate built in ice makerthat had a working refrigeration unit but the "ice cube maker" unit was beyond repair. The works of the ice cube maker is very similar (but not identical) to many home refrigerator ice maker units. Take the bad unit to an appliance parts store and have them match it up with a replacement. Sometimes you might want to swap parts (motor, switches) from the new one to the origional to overcome differences in mounting. I swapped the whole unit because our tray was badly corroded. The ice makers usually have a wiring diagram (schematic) inside the front cover if there is question on the hook up. This job is not for the novice, it requires knowledge of electrical diagrams and a lot of effort to replace. The overall result is a a repaired icemaker at a fraction of the price of a new one. Richard Filia, AA1Z, Penngrove, CA, e-mail: rfilia@boot.com.
Bathroom Vent Fan Replacement:The original fan was dead when we bought our 1978, 31' Wanderlodge side bath model. I disassembled the whole unit and removed the motor and blades. In its place I installed an electronics cooling fan that had a brushless DC motor. This type of fan is available at many surplus electronics dealers. Test the replacement fan for operation and noise level before you proceed. I had to grind the corners off the plastic housing of the replacement fan to make it fit the housing. Make sure the fan is oriented to blow air out and positioned correctly. Hot glue or epoxy can be used to secure it to the housing. I left out the screen guard but one could be installed if your concerned (you have to deliberately try and get fingers in to the fan). These fans are typically rated at 100 to 200 CFM and provide plenty of ventilation to the bath/shower. Ours was wired to run when the bath light is turned on providing ventilation to remove steam and odors. The finished look is original, the vent still opens and closes and the replacement fan should run for thousands of hours depending on it's quality. If you don't have a surplus dealer in your area Digikey (800) 344-4539 is a good source of fans and other electronic goodies (www.digikey.com). Richard Filia, AA1Z, Penngrove, CA, e-mail: Mailto:rfilia@boot.com
3208N Cat in 81 FC35 lack of airMy 81 FC35 with a 3208N had a top speed of 68mph @2800, as the previous owner told me. Looking at your speed chart it should have been 72.4 mph. The Allison was given a clean bill of health after opening the "brain" and checking the centrificial weights. It boiled down to the engine not developing enough power to lock the torque converter. I found that the 6" air intake line did not give the engine enough air to breath. Adding a second 6" line to the other side of the air cleaner and running it down the other side of the dog house fixed the problem. I am totally blow-away with the difference! Each gear shifts at a higher point and the old bus can keep up with traffic! There is less smoke and I don't slow to 30 when going up a mole hill! At 68mph the engine now runs 2600! Only finished this 100 miles ago, but gas mileage must be higher. The best part is you can easily check if this would help you. Just take the top off of the air cleaner and test drive; and feel the power! (Or not...) Gary Bagby mailbox2@flash.net
When I first picked up our Coach the digitelmade a sound but that was all. I pulled the unit, opened it and pressed on the e-prom gently. It seated a bit more and cleansed the contacts. It now works great. Have safe travels, Ralph Fullenwider Dream 35 Team. rlf@texhoma.net
Add Remote Control to your existing Wanderlodge power door lock and  alarm system
Parts required: 
1.Automobile type remote receiver with two key chain transmitters,  Omega Research # AU-REC-7ST or equiv.  Approx. $59.00.  Available at  Auto Stereo/Alarm shops. 
2.Relay kit with two Bosch type relays. This is available as an option  to the remote receiver and will plug directly into it. Approx. $10.00.  Available at Auto Stereo/Alarm shops. 
3.Latching type relay, Phillips ECG # RLY7742 or equiv. Available at  electronics suppliers.  Approximate cost $16.00. 
4.Flashing 12 volt L.E.D. , wire, terminals, connectors.  Cost  approx.  4.00. 

Total cost $ 90.00 and about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 

.I installed this setup on our '90 Wanderlodge which uses a 3 wire  POSITIVE hookup for existing door control. The directions printed here  are for that type of system.  To determine if your system is the same  check to see if the center terminal of the door lock / unlock switch is  +12 volts. ( Use a test light connected between this terminal and  ground. 

Follow the directions that are included with the wireless receiver and  connect  the 12 volt supply to either your Electronic Master or  Electronic Constant circuit. Connect a wire from the center terminal of  your existing door lock / unlock switch to the relays (both) and connect  the wire from the side of the door lock switch that is "hot" when you  press lock to the lock relay. Same for the unlock side of the existing  switch and the unlock relay. 

Locate your Burglar Alarm switch and connect the hot wire to one side  of the latching relay contacts and the other wire to the other contact  on the latching relay.  Connect one side of the coil of the latching relay to +12 volts and connect the other side to the trunk release / option wire from the receiver.  Add a flashing LED to your system by connecting the + side (usually the longer lead) to the side of the existing switch that is not hot and the other side to chassis ground.   The LED is necessary as you will not be able to tell if the alarm is on or off when set with the remote.  I mounted mine in the right side interior windshield trim and it is visible both in front of the coach and by the door by looking in the right side mirror.  Remember, if you turn on the alarm with the remote, you must turn it off with the remote. If you turn it on with the key you must turn it off with the key.   The LED will function either way you turn on the alarm. 

NOTES:It is recommended that you defeat the auto lock feature so you don't accidentally lock your keys in the vehicle. You can use the latching relay to turn a light on and off if you don't want to use this to set the alarm. Wiring would be the same as described except you would use the switch that turns on the desired light instead of the alarm switch. 
If you have any questions e-mail me at bluebird@snet.net.  Rich D. VB 943  

A VERY VINTAGE bird  ...  I own Wanderlodge VIN#3210, a 1966 model.    I have just finished repainting it. The bus is in excellent condition and I plan on  many more years of  enjoyment with it.  It is all original with 119,000 miles on it. Runs great, but gets terrible mileage and ants walk past us  during climbs in the mountains.. I 'm redoing the inside without disturbing the structure or floor plan except for installing a larger refrigerator back by the bedroom where  one of the furnaces and  the water heater are now located. I got the new material for the ceiling by talking a dealer into using the vin # from a new coach to order it for me (a proprietary item, not yet for after market sale). It's gorgeous but, I'm not relishing the thought of trying to install it in one piece.  I had a real hard time locating  a diesel engine  with a turbo charger 
that is big enough to pull  this bus and will almost fit in the dog house. Finally settled on a cat 3116.  I'm looking for a truck with all the right equipment and I'll pretty much transplant the drive train and change to air brakes. I'm keeping the  MT-40 six speed Allison (just rebuilt) because it has the lock up feature and the retarder, which is necessary when driving down mountains with a turbo charged engine (they tend to accelerate when you let off on them going downhill and the 3116 is not compatible with a Jacobs compression brake). 
Raymond J. Fisher   RaymondJFisher@webtv.net 
 Fewer little Bugs... When in nice warm winter climbs, especially Florida, the darkness brought out the tiny small little nasty bugs that seem to come right through the screen. To alleviate he lively discussions in regard to fresh air and open windows vs closed windows and no bugs, I looked for an answer. Then came the light!! The light was coming through the window frame/screen area at the latch. Although the screen was intact, at the latch is a large area that bugs can enter at leisure. I took a 1/4 inch wide weather-stripping tape (sticky on one side) about 6 inches long and placed it in the track the full length of the latch in all our windows. Now I have fresh air with windows open and Rosemarie has it bug free. (Except for me that is.) ...From: HeeneyFW@aol.com
Click here: Description and fix for a potentially disastrous problem with certain Wanderlodge PT's with "Air" Throttle and Cruise Control... Frank Steltz
RECESSED FLUORESCENT FIXTURE Base Units ( does not include lens and frame) may be purchased from RGM industries, Inc. on a drop ship, COD basis. Signify that you have a Wanderlodge and the order # is l5RFl2. The present price ( for 1-5 units) is $36.70 from the factory. RGM Industries, Inc. Recreational Products Div. 3342 Lillian Blvd. Titusville, FL 32780  Phone: 407-269-4720.  If in Florida, you are welcome to stop by the plant for lighting service. Call ahead and they will have an electric hookup available for overnight. and a technician out for service in the AM. 

I just ordered some lights for my coach.  Also, if you order six (6) lights you get them for $30.00 per.  Actually getting the sixth light for free. Some of the openings needed slight enlarging to accommodate the new chassis design. 

Many older Wanderlodges have a strip of brown simulated wood grain contact 
paper on the exterior sides and rear end.  After many years this contact paper 
can fade and crack.  Rather than replace the strip, simply wax it hard with 
basic brown shoe polish and it'll look exactly as it did the day it came off 
the line in Ft. Valley many years ago.  $5 in shoe polish and 2 hrs. of elbo 
grease will do the trick.  Robert Bland, quotesmith@aol.com.
John Fahnestock ... I recently completed a modification to my 1985 PT genset which substantially reduces outside noise. Those who have the Kohler/Perkinsside discharge or similar arrangement know the problem. The primary source of noise is the cooling fan. It's a powerhouse, drawing 9 amps at 240 vac! First, I replaced the existing "Model A" type fan blade with a Flex Fan [DERALE 19117-$25-NAPA plus hub BROWNING H 5/8-$5] and reversed the direction of flow. Motor amps dropped from 9 to 5 and noise level dropped considerably. Next, for light kw loading, I added a pancake fan to the inside of the radiator [IMPERIAL 221616-$65-AUTOZONE] This is a 12vdc fan that draws 10 amps and is very quiet. In the battery compartment I installed a 240vac DPDT relay [GRAINGER- P/N 5X848E-$25] with a selector switch at the helm. I finished the job off by adding a removable vertical stack to the exhaust [ local muffler shop-$50]. With an outside temperature of 75 degrees, the 12 volt fan has cooled a 7kw load for an hour with the temperature gage holding steady at the same temperature as before. The reduction in outside noise makes the effort very worthwhile. If anyone would like more information or has any suggestions I would be happy to talk to you. John Fahnestock "SHOREBIRD" PH/FAX 601-875-4150 E-mail jmfjr@bellsouth.net
Mike K. ... VB702 ... Before this year's trip I tuned the engine ( it was quite a ways out of time) and constructed a larger (6") air intake. I had measured the vacuum inside the air cleaner (we have a normally aspirated 3208) and found 6 inches I think it was. It now reads less than 1/2 " at 2500 rpm. We averaged about 10.2 MPG Vs our old 9.1 or so. With the increasing prices of diesel fuel (we are $1.45 locally) this should help.
Frank S. ... VB375 ... At the recent Northeast Area Rally, in Fryeburg, ME, part of the rally offering was electrical hook up albeit 20 AMP. Problem #1 - GFI outlet. As you probably know a Blue Bird Wanderlodge doesn't like GFI outlets and "pop" them just as you show the outlet to the cord. So here I am with free electricity available but unable to use it. "FLASH" unplug the convertors/battery chargers and plug them into a common extension cord ( of sufficient gauge of course) and VOILA electricity to all 12 volt requirements including inverter powered devices.
Charlie B. ...VB530 ...On the way to the '93 FMCA Summer National and VB Post Rallies we had a dash fire while traveling on Highway 5 near Redding CA. As smoke poured from under the dash, I pulled over, put the trannie in neutral, set the parking brake and turned the twelve volt main power off. Rachel grabbed the fire extinguisher and I got out and opened the cowling and put out the wiring fire. This note is to alert other FC owners as to the cause of the fire and my corrective steps to prevent a reoccurrence. The main circuit breaker mounting block had come loose, fell forward and the circuit breaker lugs came in contact with the outside air vent hinge. The result was burnt wires which melted the shifter cable and severed the air lines leading to the air gauges in an attempt to prevent this from happening again, I replaced the mounting nuts with locking nuts (one of the existing nuts had worked off and the other was nearly off), ground the vent hinge down and installed an insulating cover over the circuit breakers.
Frank S. ... VB375 ...(JABSCO water pressure regulator as used on my 1986 38' PT) I began experiencing less and less water flow from my fixtures when hooked up to "park" water supply (classic "old mans prostate condition, weak stream") and made several attempts to correct it with limited or no success. After dismantling the water regulator several times I began to understand how it worked, which led me to a fix that corrected it (it's been fine since June "94) I include a sketch, which shows the relationship between the various components and call your attention to the parts labeled housing, pressure reactive piston and the associated "O" rings. The bore of the housing needs to be thoroughly cleaned and the "O" rings lightly lubricated with ordinary household Vaseline. Don't forget to examine the mud screen to ensure it is clean and free of debris. Additionally I recommend that you daub a little soft filler such as putty in the two removal holes to prevent attracting ants, etc. from setting up housekeeping as they did in Lee and Elna Harrisson's coach last spring in Alabama. (See insert sheet)
Steve M. ... VB331 ...Another angle on GFI problems. I have an '84 PT 40. Before plugging into a GFI outlet, first turn off all 110V breakers, place electrical selector switch in the 50A shore power position. Next, using the 50A cheater cord and a 30A/20A adapter, plug into the GFI outlet. The GFI outlet should remain "set". One by one turn on your panel breakers until the GFI trips, turn that breaker off and mark it. Reset the GFI and continue turning on breakers until another breaker trips the GFI outlet. Continue this process until all breakers that will trip the GFI are identified and left off. On my coach there are two breakers that will trip the GFI outlet and their chores are to power the fridge and some kitchen outlets in addition to the voltmeters and polarity LED's on the monitor panel. The fridge will switch to LP and you can make toast via another outlet. You'll still have hot water, converters, etc. Solution two, is to visit PMMI at Old Ocean, TX where they will change the green LED's to amber LED's which the GFI outlets cannot detect.
Jack M. ... VB128 ..."As a result of disuse, water from my fresh water storage tank developed an objectionable odor and taste even though I drained the tank each time the coach was not being used. I tried Algae - Kill, Clorox, swimming pool chlorine and everything else I could find with little or no success. I could not get the tanks clean and "sweet". I cut a hole in the top of the fresh water tank, to accept removable deck plates. When I opened the tank I found the inside coated with a brown algae predominately on the top and corner surfaces. I scrubbed the entire tank clean with a scrub brush and thoroughly rinsed it. In the future I will be able to inspect and clean it as needed through the "deck plates". I used the following parts: Beckson Deck Plates # DP60-W 6" Inspection plates $14.00 and #BKS - DP60W - Deck plate $11.50 These parts were purchased from Beckson Marine Inc. Box 3336, Bridgeport, CT 06605"
Frank S. ... VB375 ..."When I got home from the Hilton Head Ralley the back of my coach and my tow car were covered with oil spots. I envisioned the worst and thought "Gosh", am I having injector problems or something worse? I visited the local Detroit shop for a consultation and estimate. The mechanic looked it over and found two oil lines and a brass "tee" leaking. One line went to the compressor and the other to the pressure sender. The starter had to be removed to get at the "tee" and oil lines were replaced. The down side was that the air compressor line took five (5) hours to replace. What a difficult place to get at. Total time was ten (10) hours of labor. I have since run over 3,000 miles without further oil spotting. Additionally my oil mileage is some better".
Frank S. ... VB375 ..."My antenna booster and A/B switch had been failing so I set about to replace them. The Weingard booster was no longer available at the B.B. factory and had been replaced with Radio Shack P/N 15- 1113B. Their price $69 and Radio Shack $24.99. The new R S booster is adjustable from 10db to 20db, a very handy feature (the old booster was fixed at 10db's. The A/B switch was very inexpensive and also works very well. Our television is greatly improved and I am pleased to have saved $44 on the cost of the booster".
Philip B. ... VB113 ..."Recently the Eaton power steering pump on my 1980 FC developed a leak. Bluebird parts told me that a replacement would cost $650.00. I had the pump removed and taken apart by my mechanic ( which I could have done myself ) and learned from Donnie at Bluebird that a seal kit was available for under $5.00. Since the pump was apart I decided to also replace the shaft bearing for about $9.00. Additionally I had the electric fan rebuilt in a similar manner last year at a cost of under $50.00 The replacement cost is in the range of $1,600.00
LOREN B. ... VB761 ...Removing and retrofitting a new hot water tank on my '86 PT 40 Q.I.B. My comments on removing/retrofitting the domestic hot water heater: Factory estimate - 10 hrs. my working time - 3 hrs. "Remove mirror door with hinges - remove inside cabinet R H wall and floor - remove inside front wall with electric heater attached (the wire will be long enough to set this piece out of the way without disconnecting it) - drain water heater using switch under the bed (requires air pressure) - with switch open disconnect hot water line on top venting tank so it will drain completely - cut the electric line (it will be replaced at assembly) - cut both engine coolant lines to the "motor-aid" at a point between the tank and the two elbows - cut the P. T. (pressure and temperature relief valve) it will be replaced at assy. - disconnect the three lines to the valve on the cold inlet - remove the screws in the base brackets and tip the heater up to remove the valve on the inlet side - then remove the mounting bracket on that end - tip unit down and remove the other bracket - lift unit out of the cabinet - remove the cutoff hoses from the "motoraid" - prep the electric box on the wall for the new wire - reinstall the valve in the cold water supply line - add approximately 6" of 5/8" heater hose to one "motoraid" line and approximately 14" of 5/8" heater hose to the other line - screw nipples into the hot and cold fittings on tank - screw new fitting into P. T. valve to accept drain - connect new piece of 12-2 wire to tank - place new tank in cabinet and screw to floor - connect "motoraid" lines - attach new piece of 5/8" heater hose of suitable length and push through hole in floor and reconnect to drain line - connect cold supply and hot water lines to tank at appropriate positions - replace front wall panel with freeze heater on it(this will have to be attached approximately 3/4"higher as new tank is taller) - replace the floor - trim 3/4" from top of right hand wall keeping in mind this wall has a taper so a small amount will have to be removed from the bottom of the rear edge - replace door - add water - turn on electric". 

PARTS LIST: 2 - 20" hot and cold flex lines 1/2 " N.T.P. on both ends 2 - 1/2x2 1/2 brass nipples 30" 5/8" heater hose 24" 12-2 wire 1 - 1/2 N.T.P. to 5/8" hose "barb" fitting (for PT valve) 2 - 1/2" romex connectors.

LOREN B. ... VB761 ..."We purchased a 1986 PT 40 8V92 with 70,00 miles. The dealer had serviced it prior to our taking it. They told me they had changed the oil refilling it with a good grade of 15-40 W oil which they said Detroit recommends. On our trip home, approximately 700 miles, we used two quarts of oil and every trip thereafter two quarts every 1,000 miles. Some time passed before I contacted Detroit to see if this was normal. They recommended straight 40W oil. I changed the oil and filters approximately 2100 miles ago and it has not gone down off the mark yet". Editors note: In a Detroit publication which I have they recommend a good grade 40W - CD II for mild weather, the CD indicating compression ignition and "D" level formulation, the roman numeral II (two) indicating formulation for two cycle engine use. (the Detroit 6 & 8 V 92's are two cycle engines).
Ed H. ... VB297 ..."To facilitate easy access to my engine through the door beneath bed I converted our water bed to air by simply removing the water and replacing it with air, thus eliminating the 400 plus pounds and it sleeps just as good.
Bill W. ("The Silver Streak") ... VB661 ...Fuel feed problem: "After trading the '83 FC on a newer, 87 FC and "knowing everything" I needed to operate the new bird, took off on a 9,000 mile trip. Everything worked fine except my engine hour meter, which I thought I could live without for now. I changed oil and filters and started for home in Alabama from California, being careful to check the coding of the Racor to insure it was a 2 micron filter. My troubles started right then. Starting had amounted to a 2 second crank and had increased to 15 or 20 seconds before reaching home. I changed Racor filters three times, reprimed, resealed and cussed the entire trip home. The next start, 2 months later, took about 30 seconds. I stopped for the night in Tallahassee and in the morning it would not start. A call to the factory got me the following advice from a repair Tech, crack a fuel line to check for fuel, check fuel solenoid for operation and ensure there was fuel in the tank. No help, I reprimed the Racor and off it went. A check at the factory revealed that my "Facet" pump was not working. "Facet pump", what's that?. I didn't know I had one. Blue bird in their infinite wisdom had decided that the engine pump was inadequate and added the "Facet pump" in the tank. Two events created the failure: the change from a coarser fuel filter to a 2 micron and the failure of the oil pressure safety switch which powers the ENGINE HOUR METER and the IN - TANK PUMP. This switch prevents the continuous pumping of fuel when the engine is not running and therefore not producing oil pressure. A Racor filter of 8 or 10 micron fineness is more appropriate".
Judy P. ... VB402 ..."I recently changed the shower curtain in our '83 PT 40 and I am so pleased with the results I wanted to share them with everyone. I purchased a 100% cotton shower curtain and modified it on my sewing machine. I started with a bathtub size, because I didn't know if the shower stall size was available, I narrowed it with a simple straight seam and sculpted the top to match the original curtain. I transferred the plastic hooks from the original to the new curtain. It works just great!! It does a better job of keeping the water in than the original. When I wash the towels I throw in the curtain and it stays fresh and clean. I had replaced the vinyl liner on the other once and I wish I had known about this option, at the time as it is so much better". For information call 1 (800) 323-2811.
Norm C. ... VB741 ..."Be advised that I am about as mechanical as a fence post, but this worked for me. We purchased an'82, 31', 3208 NA, FC a couple of years ago and picked it up in Yuma, AZ. It had not been run in about four years. On the way home to Phoenix we had a plugged fuel filter and some wires under the dash "smoked". The wiring was replaced and fuel and air filters changed and we continued home. It ran okay but seemed to lack power and smoked badly. Additionally the engine seemed to run hot though when the fan cycled on it cooled down. After, we put several thousand miles on it including a trip to the VB rally in Oregon. On the way home from Oregon the wires burned up again, including the ignition and fuel solenoid wires. Road service brought a tow truck and took us to a garage that serviced Blue Bird school busses. The mechanic patched us up and we continued on home. Next trip to Mexico, the wires fried again, not so easy to get towed. My cousin was along and he went to a hardware store, bought some heavy gauge wire and he jury rigged some wires, and we got home okay. I couldn't believe how good the old bird ran. After we got home we rewired things. We ran a direct wire from the battery to a heavy duty pull switch fused for 20 amps and then to the fuel solenoid. Now to start I first pull the fuel solenoid switch and then turn on the ignition, to shut down I reverse the process. The engine now has 20% more power, goes up hills at 30 MPH that I once struggled up at 15 MPH, cruises easily at 60 MPH plus when before the "going" had to be level to attain 55 MPH and seems to run a lot cooler even on a 110F day. The fan still cycles but only briefly and when going up hill. Do I know why it runs so much better?? I haven't got the foggiest. I am so pleased at the way this "old Bird" runs that I think I will keep it until It's old enough to vote".
Ray H. ... VB297 ... I recently purchased one of those fluorescent camping lanterns and reading through the parts listing and instructions I discovered the following information: When the light of the fluorescent tube begins to get dim recharge the battery as prolonged use with a "low" battery will cause the tube ends to prematurely blacken. Do you suppose that's why our fluorescent tubes in the coach blacken and die quickly - low battery voltage ?
Frank S. ... VB375 ... (The Rubicon) - How many of you out there have been wondering how to determine what micron fineness their "Racor" filter cartridge is? I picked up a cartridge in the Racor booth at Perry and voila!! right on the top molded end of the filter was the legend - BROWN = 2 microns, BLUE = 10 micron, RED = 30 micron, what could be simpler. There were three sizes and all bore the same color coding. The red (30 micron) is appropriate for our Racor filter.
Rex J. M. ... VB796 ...Recently I had RAMCO MIRROR change out my mirrors on my 1980 FC and install the latest RAMCO's. This was accomplished with no modifications. I highly recommend you contact Mark Reverman (RAMCO) 2019 W Lasher Avenue, Elkart, IN 46517 if you are considering changing your mirrors. 
Dick S. ... VB582 ... Two years ago I had to leave my coach out in 10 deg weather, and my house batteries froze. I replaced them with 4 Trojan T145 deep cycle 6v, they are rated at 75 amps for 145 minutes. Trojan Battery Company recommended floating at 13.2 volts daily charging at 14.6 volts and equalizing charge 15.5 volts. This 15.5 volts boils the battery and is used because the electrolytes has more concentration at the bottom then the top. The only way you can hurt the batteries is to run them dry. This way my sp. gr. is at 1300. After a 4 day weekend dry camping at PSU ,it takes a full week to recharge. I bought a new hi-tech battery charger from TODD Engineering a 75 amp Power Source that I can switch to all 3 voltages.
DISCLAIMER: 

Neither the editor nor the Vintage Birds Chapter can be held liable for hints published for your consideration. It is your responsibility to check whether the service tip is applicable to your coach and a given situation! 

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From Dan Stack: OIL PRESSURE PROBLEMS ON FC Birds 

Have you noticed you oil pressure slowly dropping as you travel? Before you get that bottom end overhaul, crawl under the coach and inspect the wiring from the oil sending unit. In some cases the wire passes directly between the frams and the exhaust, 2-3 inches. The protective sleeve may be burned away completely, exposing the insulated wire. Check the wire insulation very carefully, it can be baked dry, and cracked. Heat from the exhaust this close to the wire will cause a decrease in signal strength from the sending unit to the gauge, especially as the outside temperature rises and the more miles traveled. You can reroute the wire around the frame, and approach the sending unit from a different direction. Wrapping with insulating tape will then restore your oil pressure signal until a new wire can be installed. Good Luck. 

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From Blair Harrington: "Are you thinking of installing a skirt on the rear bumper of your Bird in order to save the finish on your tow car? The skirt from the factory will set you back $500-$600. Instead try the skirt offered by Camping World (be sure to order the 22 inch model) for less than $100. It does a beautiful job." 

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From Ken Gill: "I found a simple way to improve the Turn Signal/4-way Flasher Systems on my '83 FC coach. My local NAPA Store stocks a heavy duty electronic/relay type flasher for police cars, fire trucks, etc. These flashers cost about $15.00 - they draw less current and are far more reliable. The second item- I replaced the fuse in this flasher system with an automatic resetting circuit breaker, which cost about $4.00. Upgrading these two items has removed my fear of failure of the flasher/brake light system while traveling. Additionally, if you tow a car, a heavy duty flasher eases the load just that much more." 

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From Gene Winck: "To raise and support a sagging battery tray, I placed a threaded rod between the bottom of the tray and the coach frame." 

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From Ken Gill: "I converted my stock trailer hitch to a Class III 2" square tube (Reese Type) receiver hitch. The original hitch, although very strong, did not allow for height adjustment to match towed car or trailer needs. My modification is very simple and inexpensive to do. I purchased a 12" long receiver tube section from a local hitch shop. This piece is pre-fabed and pre-drilled to Class III specs. Then I removed the hitch ball from the stock hitch and welded the new receiver tube to the top of the stock hitch. For less than $20.00 I have improved the looks of my coach and have made it safer and easier to tow. 

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Dick Doty: After paying $160 (from BB Parts) for a new one, I wrote to ARO Corp. in Bryan, Ohio. They make the 'air relay valve' that opens and closes the steps and pushes the generator in and out. ARO says they have a Rebuild Kit for $25.00 (Part No.115750) for the 'older' model 5840 2929 02 valve on the 1983 coaches (at least). You'll find it stocked at 'Hydraulic Parts' Supply Houses such as: Hydraulic Supply 7200 Buffalo Ave. E Tampa, FL (813)621-4721 If you have a different model, or need guidance that a Supply House can't provide, Call . ARO (419)636-4242. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  CALIBRATION PROCEDURE  for  CLOCK-THERMOMETER & REMOTE THERMOMETER

From: PMMI Inc. Drawer 10 Old Ocean, Texas 713-647-442l 

Place an accurately calibrated thermometer next to the outdoor temperature probe while the coach is in a protected environment -- no sun shining on the exterior, no strong winds, etc. 

While depressing the outdoor temperature button on the Clock- Thermometer, adjust the outdoor temperature adjustment, which is located on the extreme left center of the Clock-Thermometer when viewed from the rear, to read the same as the calibrated thermometer. 

Next, place the calibrated thermometer next to the indoor temperature probe, and repeat the procedure, depressing the indoor button on the Clock-Thermometer and adjusting the pot which is next to the indoor button, on the lower left hand side of the printed circuit board when viewed from the rear of the unit. 

After properly calibrating the Clock-Thermometer, remove the Remote Thermometer from the wall, and with the switch set to read outdoor, adjust the pot on the extreme left center when viewed from the rear such that the outdoor temperature on the Remote Thermometer reads the same as the outdoor temperature on the Clock-Thermometer. 

If the temperatures do not agree on both the indoor and outdoor, or over a period of time, it is because of poor grounding of the Clock-Thermometer and Remote Thermometer causing excessive currents to flow in the shielded cable connecting the Clock-Thermometer and Remote Thermometer together. With proper grounding, these units will calibrate and hold their accuracy for long periods of time. 

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Suggestions from Roger Peterson of PMMI 

Ground Fault plug-in problem: Roger explained that this problem is created by the devise used to identify reverse polarity. If you want this corrected you will have to send the 120 volt gauges to Roger and a different kind of electric part will correct this problem. The cost should be under $50.00. 

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Holding Tank and Water Tank Gauges: Incorrect readings are caused by either debris on the probes in the tanks, or by algae. Two things can be done to correct this. Clean your tanks by putting in one gallon of Clorox bleach with water, and driving the coach to stir up the mix. Let set for a day, then drain. Then put in an algaecide that can be purchased from swimming pool supply companies. Repeat the same treatment. This should kill all algae and remove all debris from the probes. Next, cut off, or separate all of the ground leads from all of the probes except the bottom one. (That would be the indicator for the full reading). One ground lead to the tank is all that is required. This will stop the false reading effect you get if something gets attached to the probes above the bottom one. 

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Control of Battery Charging Voltage: Roger has developed a system which anyone may purchase direct from him which will control battery voltage to stop the chargers from 'cooking out' the batteries. It involves installing a relay in the line to the batteries which is controlled by an electronic voltage regulator. Sounds like the answer to a considerable battery problem. 

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PMMI components and replacement parts. Roger will sell ( direct) to Vintage Bird members, any replacement parts desired at normal cost. 

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AIR COMPRESSOR AND AIR DRYER TIPS: From Kim Hedden 

Located on the top side of the air compressor is the filter. There are two types (the OEM is a small sponge). The best is a round replacement paper donut type kit. The dry filter is easy to replace when dirty. The attention paid to the filters has a lot to do with the life of the compressor!! To give you and idea of what you should be paying for a new type replacement filter kit complete, filter and holder: HARDY Brake in Evansville, Ind. charges $20.55, plus UPS charges for the filter kit. (This is list, less 40%) Part # 278500. ( Bob Kerney, Hardy Brake & Electric, 112 N. Fulton Ave., Evansville, Ind 47710 812-425-3119) 

Back 4-5 feet from the compressor is the air dryer ( if coach is so equipped) and it requires service: Air comes in at the bottom of the dryer and circulates. When you periodically hear the air go whoosh, (or whatever) the unit is purging itself, backflushing itself and blowing condensed water and oil out from the air compressor before it gets to the lines, air bags and air brakes. If this unit ever quits working in the winter and you have water in the tanks, park overnight in freezing weather-get up in the A.M. ready to go and nothing happens, your brakes are locked up, frozen, because of water in the lines. This unit has a small electric heater on the bottom which is replaceable and the purge valve is also replaceable. The air dryers are Bendix. You can buy a Bendix filter repair kit. Part #286718-- About $65.00 plus UPS. 

If you hear the purge sound and see no oil on the ground under the compressor when sitting, it is likely the compressor is in pretty good shape. TAKE CARE OF IT! When you lose you air-- your rear brakes lock and that is it! The humidity you are in, how many miles you drive and the maintenance you give, have an effect on the compressor. 

DO NOT EVER WORK ON THE AIR SYSTEM UNLESS YOU BLEED ALL THREE TANKS OFF, let every bit of air out of the coach, let air bags down. Get all air out before ever touching a fitting. If you don't and take a line loose, it would be like a shot gun. You could also get trapped under the coach as it would drop 4 inches or so when air is released from the air bags. 

There are two ways to release locked brakes: l. There is a valve core (or shrader valve) located near the air dryer or the first air tank. Using an external air compressor, go in and put enough air in to release brakes. ( It takes air pressure to release the brakes, or to hold the parking brake off.) 2. A "T" bolt may be inserted in the rear brake pans and tightened to compress the springs, thus releasing the brakes. 

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ICEMAKER CIRCUIT 

The ice maker in the coach is rated 2.5 amps. It is fused to a 20 amp braker. Therefore the ice maker will burn before the braker will blow. To correct, remove the duplex receptacle, which the ice maker is plugged into, and replace with a Bussman Fuse Tron box cover model SRU and a 3 amp time delay fuse tron. Total parts less than $10.00 

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RECESSED FLUORESCENT FIXTURE Base Units ( does not include lens and frame) may be purchased from RGM industries, Inc. on a drop ship, COD basis. Signify that you have a Wanderlodge and the order # is l5RFl2. The present price ( for 1-5 units) is $36.70 from the factory. RGM Industries, Inc. Recreational Products Div. 3342 Lillian Blvd. Titusville, FL 32780 Phone: 407-269-4720 If in Fla., you are welcome to stop by the plant for lighting service. Call ahead and they will have an electric hookup available for overnight and a technician out for service in the A.M. 

More facts: The recessed units made by RGM can be repaired if they do not have the potted transistor unit (this is a green looking block). In 1980, the potted unit was replaced with a repairable transistor unit. RGM has not made fixtures for Bluebirds since about 1984. 

Fluorescent units do not like wide changes of voltage. Be sure to turn off lights when using jacks, starting your coach, etc. With a drop in voltage and then resultant surge, there is a degrading effect on the transistors which has an accumulative effect. They do not like being turned on and off a lot either. Last longer if left burning. -- These lights also work better in warmer environment. Once they are warm the temperature lumens increase. 

For replacement bulb, you can use any fluorescent tube. Stark white gives a harsher light, the warm white is a little softer. 

Static in a radio, when a light is turned on, is usually caused by one fixture only. Check the capacitor, the tube may not light but will cause static or hum in radio. 

A capacitor has a design life of 5 years, but may last as long as 10 years if you are lucky. 

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Other notes: 

When going to plug in at a Campground, etc., it is a good idea to have your power access switch in the off position and breaker in the box off. When plugging in it is possible to get a short period of reverse polarity. This can eventually harm the icemaker or other electrical units which might be on. 

It is a good idea occasionally to pull the breaker panels and tighten the screws to help avoid shorts from loose connections. BE SURE THE COACH IS UNPLUGGED FIRST. 

If your coach has the outline lights on the dash, be sure NEVER to drill a hole in that area, or you will have ruined the lights. 

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Jock Kay: ENGINE COOLING: Many owners have connected a wire to a hot lead on the ignition switch on the run terminal to an off/on switch close to the dash then to the fan lead wire so as to bring 12 volts to the fan without the thermostat calling for it. This will enable you to cool down the engine faster in a rest area or when you are stopping for any length of time. I have found by turning on the switch when entering a rest area, within a few minutes I am able to turn off the engine running cool. 

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Jock Kay: WASTE WATER VALVES: A number of people have asked me if there is a way to free up the waste water valves. It is best to empty the tanks before pulling the valves out. After emptying the tanks open the valves and remove two screws in the end plate. Pull off the end plate being careful not to damage the "o" type ring that seals the valve; then pull the whole valve out. It would be best to use a hard fiber brush and a liquid soap to clean the valve plate and a small brush to clean the seat of the valve (like a vegetable brush). Inspect and make sure there is no residue in the valve seat by flushing it out with water. By using a bucket under the valve it tends to minimize the mess! After cleaning and drying the valve and plate, cover with a liberal amount of graphite and apply to the stem and work it freely. Replace the valve and the valve seat, push the plate in carefully so as not to disturb the "o" ring. Next replace the two screws. Some people have used petroleum jelly in place of graphite, however, the Factory now uses graphite. 

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To stop corrosion of battery, build a wooden or hardplastic box to put batteries in to isolate them from metal. Under the hold down bars, place a piece of PVC pipe cut in half lengthwise. 

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From Jim Hopper -- "I had some work done on my 3208 NA engine based on some discussion with Tom K. Caterpillar. CAT found that in the speed range of 2000-2400 rpm, the fuel was backing away from the injectors, thus causing a flat spot in the torque curve of the NA engines, By putting in "Reverse Flow Check valves," the fuel stayed where it was supposed to -- at the injectors -- and the torque curve was raised back to where it was supposed to be. This was true of the 3208T as well, but when CAT found this out, the put the RFC valves in production and took care of the problem. Since the 3208NA does not meet the 1990 EPA, and will not be produced next year (1990), the RFC valves become an option for the NA version, My engine was updated just before coming to Richmond- it really mode a difference in the performance, It was not necessary to downshift manually as frequently because the rpm did not drop off as fast as before; I could feel the improvement up to about 2000' altitude, then it was not as noticeable because the engine was beginning to run out of air (which then is where the turbo comes into play). There is one side effect - the top end torque at 2800 rpm is less, but who will notice the difference up there anyway, Of course this gain has a price tag of approximately $700.00, which includes ports and labor." 

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SERVICE BULLETIN - EXTERIOR CLEANING (Service Manager, Blue Bird Wanderlodge, Fort Valley, Georgia): 

It has come to our attention that some car/truck wash facilities may use strong detergents or other chemicals that could cause permanent staining or streaking of exterior paint and aluminum trim. A strong alkaline solution, while useful for dissolving dirt, is a suspected harmful ingredient. Before enlisting any commercial wash service or facility, you should determine that cleaning agents used will not damage the finish of your coach. Effective August l, 1987, Wanderlodge will no longer honor any warranty claims against this type of damage. 

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From a Factory Bulletin: When climbing long steep grades which slow the vehicle to below 30 mph at full throttle for more than five minutes, manual downshifting is recommended. Select a range that will allow the engine to operate at 2600 rpm (full throttle). This will prevent the engine or transmission from overheating 

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Caterpillar. Questions & Answers 

Q) When should I change the oil? 

A) The average RV will travel about 10,000 miles per year therefore the oil should be changed spring and fall. 

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Q) What type oil should I use? 

A) The turbo 3208 requires CE grade oil. It can also be used in the NA version. When the engine leaves the factory it has lOW/30 which is not a break-in oil and will perform to the regularly scheduled oil change. 

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Q ) What oil additives should I use? 

A) Oil additives are not required. Caterpillar engine development is done on commercially available oil without the need of additives. 

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Q) How much oil should the Cat 3208 use? 

A) The minimum target is l qt of oil to 50 gallons of fuel consumed. 

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Q ) What oil pressure should I see? 

A) A reading of 65 psi with low/30 oil at 210 degrees F is normal. 

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Q) How many miles to the gallon will I see? 

A) Generally 7-9 miles/gallon. The top three factors of fuel economy are speed, weight of the coach and idle time. 

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Q) What boost pressure should I see? 

A) At cruising speed you will see five to six inches. Going up a hill will cause the boost pressure to climb to 9-10 inches. With an automatic transmission you do not have much control over boost pressure. 

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Q) May I drive at full throttle up hills? 

A) Yes, the engine is governed and will be controlled. 

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Q) Is manually downshifting going up hill okay? 

A) Yes. Manually downshifting will keep rpm up. This will provide better performance and increase water flow for proper engine cooling. 

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Q) What gear should I use coming down hills? 

A) Allison says the same gear which was used to climb the hill may also be used when coming down a hill. However, do not exceed 2800 rpm with the 210 hp or 250 hp and 3000 rpm with the 300 hp. 

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Q) What does, the high idle check tell? 

A) The nigh idle check tells you if the engine controls will allow the engine to get full power. The number one cause of low hp is wear in the throttle linkage which will not allow the engine to open up. You can check high idle by putting the throttle on the floor. The tachometer should read 2800 rpm on the 210 hp and 250 hp or 3000 rpm on the 300 hp. The throttle linkage should be readjusted to bring engine speed up to standard. 

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Q) What is the best way to store my coach in regards to the the engine? 

A) Have fresh oil in the engine and a full tank of fuel. It's good to add some type of fuel stabilizer and anti-algae additive to prevent algae growth in the fuel tank. Do not run the engine unless you can road travel for at least 40-50 minutes. It is better to let your RV sit than to just warm it up without putting a load on it. 

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Q) What are the most common problems seen? 

A-1) Air in the fuel system will reduce horsepower. Air is most likely to enter through loose connections in the suction line or filters. The last place to look is the governor control shaft. 

A-2) Hot inlet air (above 125 degrees F) will cause a reduction in horsepower. 

A-3) Electrical, where the voltage will not power the on/off solenoid. If this should occur, see your local Caterpillar dealer. 

A-4) Cold weather fuel get. Double- check to see that you are running a blend of No.l and No.2 diesel fuel or No.l diesel fuel. 

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Q) Are there any "Limp Home" techniques? 

A-1) The hand priming pump can be used on the Forward control coaches to partially overcome air in the fuel system. 

A-2) The fuel system can be switched on by removing the solenoid and pulling up on the "fuel on" lever should the solenoid fail. It will have to be shut down by pushing on the same lever. Have this repaired by your local Caterpillar dealer. 

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After paying $160 (from BB Parts) for a new one, I wrote to ARO Corp. in Bryan, Ohio. They make the 'Air Relay Valve' that opens and closes the steps and pushes the generator in and out. ARO says they have a Rebuild Kit for $25.00 (Part No.115750) for the 'older' model 5840 2929 02 valve on the 1983 coaches (at least). You'll find it stocked at 'Hydraulic Parts' Supply Houses such as: Hydraulic Supply 7200 Buffalo Ave. E Tampa, FL (813)621-4721 If you have a different model, or need guidance that a Supply House can't provide, Call Eric Pickering at ARO (419)636-6752." 

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RECESSED FLUORESCENT FIXTURE Base Units ( does not include lens and frame) may be purchased from RGM industries, Inc. on a drop ship, COD basis. Signify that you have a Wanderlodge and the order # is l5RFl2. The present price ( for 1-5 units) is $36.70 from the factory. RGM Industries, Inc. Recreational Products Div. 3342 Lillian Blvd. Titusville, FL 32780 Phone: 305-269-4720 If in Fla., you are welcome to stop by the plant for lighting service. Call ahead and they will have an electric hookup available for overnight and a technician out for service in the A.M. 

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Submitted by Stewart Sterling 

Alignment: 

Brad Ragan Shop - Downtown Orlando 
Orange County Spring - 5495 S. Orange Blossom Trl, Orl 800-237-6610 
JOSAM - 8849 Exchange Dr, Orl. Industrial Park, Orl 407-438-7020 
Tampa Spring - 8820 N Brooks St., Tampa 800-282-2548 

Appliance Repair: 

Central Fla RV Service - 2615 N Orange Blossom Trl, Kissimmee 407-846-4916 ( Hwy 441, near Hwy 192) Rebuilds refrigerators--Dometic, Norcold 

Carpet: 

Custom Carpet Care - Longwood 407-699-4300 Binding on carpet $.50lfoot Manufacturers Carpet Outlet - Hwy 15-A, DeLand 904-736-1041 Remnants 

Diesel Repair: 

Clifton Industrial Service - Hwy 15-A, DeLand, FL 904-738-4966 
General diesel repair Roberts Diesel Repair - Gore Ave, near Orange Blossom Trail, 0rl, FL 
Auto Machine & Parts -1011 W Central Blvd, 0rl, FL 407-425-7533 
Machine Shop, rebuilds CATs 3208 (Large Shop) 
Construction Equipment - 3710 N. Orange Blossom Trail,0rl, FL 407-295-1221 Detroit, Allison, Perkins 

Furniture: 

Villa (Interiors 714-535-7272 Mike Ramirez, at shows (ask about displays, seconds) 
Brad & Hall (Flexsteel) 219-825-2664 

Mechanics: 

Auto Repair by Ben Cheney - works @ Marathon, Tampa . . . 813-237-6402 (former Mitchell tech--will work out of his home) 

Remco Truck of Orl - Freightliner, Orange Blossom Trail, Orl (mechanic-Butch Haskins; has adjusted valves on FC Bird) 

Parts: 

Zip Dee . . . . 800-338-2378 
Fantastic Fan - lids & parts, lifetime warranty . . . . 800-521-0298 

C & M Core -1227 W Jefferson St., Orlando, FL . . .407-843-5980 A-C parts, oil coolers, Delco, (wholesale-counter sale-cash) 

Heintzlemen Ford-Truck - I-4 to Lee Rd, head west, cross Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL on right, one block (CAT 3208 parts, P.S. parts, etc.) 

Interstate Dieselect - Orange Blossom Trail, near Construction Equipment, Orlando, FL Racor supplier, parts, elements, wholesale 

Joe's Truck Parts - Hwy 50, Orlando, FL . . . . . 800-432-3365 (junkyard of trucks) new parts & used - 2-speed rears $750 Gear & Wheel -1965 Stanhome Way, off Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL . . . . 800-432-4327 wholesale-filters, bearings, gauges, belts, hoses, brakes 

International Bus & Parts - Orange Blossom Trail, Apopka, FL . . . . . 407-880-9700 ask for catalogs 

U-Save Plywood - Orange Blossom Trail, next to Central Ave, Orlando, FL (like Skycraft, only wood) 

Starters: 

Sunshine Armature Works -1110 S Blvd, DeLand, FL . . . 904-734-2020 starters, alternators rebuilt 

Tires: 

Boulevard Tire - DeLand, FL . . . 904-734-6447 Truck Dept, Rick O'Neill (Michelin, Bridgestone) 

Welding: 

Weld-Rite - O.B.T., near Gore Ave, Orlando, FL Hitch welding, tow-bar fabricated, makes trailers, excellent quality, reasonable prices 

DeLand Metal Craft - W. Beresford Ave, DeLand, FL . . . 904-734-0828 Hitches, sandblasting, welding 

Woodworking: 

Les Camp Woodworking Shop - Hwy 92, DeLand, FL Formica, cabinetry