Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Hello - new 85 20ft MW, from an auction, now what
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 > Hello - new 85 20ft MW, from an auction, now what

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Joined: 01/09/2018

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Posted: 01/09/18 01:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

question - See 2/26/2018 update on page 2

Is there a Minnie Winnie forum? Or one for RVs with a Chevy 30? Do you know of any YouTube video channels for them, any info would be great. I assume a Chevy van for that year will be the same parts. Thanks in advance! UPDATE - I added everyone's ideas to this main post so I can print it out later.

We just got a 1985 20ft Minnie Winnie with 4000 miles from an auction. Let me know what you think I should check out. Details and my plan so far are below.

Options if you were wondering:
Generator, AC, rear door and bed, moving forward on the driver's side is sink cook top fridge (small shower/toilet combo) on passenger side pantry/closet, dinner table booth. UPDATE - Tires are from the 26th week of 2010, so I'm looking to replace those. The belts look brand new, I'm going to look at the numbers from all the pics I took of them tonight.

About the RV:
My friend is a dealer and got it for me at an auction. He doesn't feel like the 4000 miles is made up (rolled back). He is towing it to my house so that I can change the oil first. The owner drove it to the auction from Ruskin FL to Orlando. So I assume the gas was drained and new. I don't know what has been done to it. My friend says it starts and runs good. (update it runs great, crazy hu!)

My background:
I have experience with boats and understand the basics with batteries (series or parallel), pumps, plumbing, sinks, sewage and water tanks, portable generators only, window and home AC units, trucks and cars and used to be a contractor.

My friend is going to call the owner and see what maintenance they have done.

My plan of attack if not already done and or to verify done:

Engine/General driving etc:
Oil/filter change
Fuel filter location unknown (assuming in the engine bay if its an old Chevy.)
Check/change air filter (mold, dirt, brand new?)
Drain and replace fuel look for water in the fuel
New belts
Water pump?
Coolant change
Check coolant hoses for cracks
Check brake pads and any lines for cracks
After changing lines bleed and change brake fluid look for water
Check for fluid leaks
Squeaks / bad shocks or bushings w cracks
change rubber vacuum and fuel lines
Motor mounts
Check light bulbs
Battery shut off and electric outlet tester
wiper motor check, wipers (size and code?________________)
ceiling fan
inside lights
awning material
Does it have jack stands for when camping/parking? Are they working?

Is there mold in the water tank?
Flush the system w bleach dilution method
add "sweet water" drops that I already have to the new water
Flush/wash sewage tank with homemade multidirectional wand.
Read somewhere to use Ice with cleaner to "scrub" it while you drive?
Read somewhere to use liquid fabric conditioner instead of the blue stuff, but I will see about biodegradable options
I have a lot of PEX pipe so maybe redo plumbing if it's the old grey tubing.
Check valves are working freely and plastic won't snap down the road
Check fuacets for leaks, water pump working?
Pump specs: amp______ psi______ gph_______ see if I have a back up pump
Are there shut off valves at the pump to switch out without leaking
Does it have a macerator pump or just a tank using gravity?
Does it have drainage hose

drain fuel, change oil/filter, air filter, spark plugs, fuel filter, test it.
rebuild carb
Check if there is a 24v system w batteries like a large boat?
Is the generator diesel, hope it can run off the main tank which is not diesel.
Is there a volt meter to watch batteries.
Is there a house battery bank? How old? keep charge?

Check for leaks and maintenance to see if it just sat and has any leaks, mold, cracks, lifting sealant, etc.
My friend didn't see any issues.

Check lines for cracking /leaks
See if there is a tank
Is it propane and marine type alcohol stove, or just propane
New propane sensor? or does it have one?
New carbon monoxide sensor along with original if it's wired in

Is it propane and electric, or just electric?

Hot water heater:
See if it's rusted out with red water
Do RVs have instant hot water propane heaters now? A friend suggested getting a camping propane tankless water heater. But with those a 9v battery ignites the propane and the heater works when there is water flow sensed. I fear a spark inside a chamber with propane (even with a vented hatch) is a bad idea. Maybe I can add a loop somewhere outside that I can divert the water through the tankless heater, or make sure everyone knows to open the hatch before using it.

Tires look good, he said no dry rot -I'll look at the year
Friend put in a new battery

Future upgrades:
Jump starter for backup, and airing up tires
Rack on the roof, how much weight can go up there. what are height limits (how low do I have to keep things? for kayaks and paddle boards
Mount vinyl fence posts underneath, to hold the sewage drain lines/ etc
hanging closet shoe holder rack near entrance
Radio working? speakers ok?
Solar if we start to do off grid
Do we need reupholstering?

What else should I add to my list

Sorry for grammar this was posted from my phone originally

* This post was last edited 02/26/18 05:30pm by Stewfish *   View edit history


Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 01/09/18 02:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check for roof leaks. Check for water leaks.

Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.



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Posted: 01/09/18 02:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check the manufacture date on the tires. hopefully not 1985.

2015 Open Range 340 FLR
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The Keystone State

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Posted: 01/09/18 02:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Generator: Change the oil filter, don't just look at it.
Change the fuel filter.


Sunny South

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Posted: 01/09/18 02:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stewfish wrote:

Check if there is a 24v system w batteries

The RV will have a 12 volt negative ground system. Every component will be designed for 12 volt negative ground.



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Posted: 01/09/18 03:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check all fuel lines, including propane, for leaks. Old lines and get microscopic holes in them.

Replace all rubber (not just belts).

Check wiper motor.

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Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)



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Posted: 01/09/18 03:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks guys I really appreciate it


Cambria, CA

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Posted: 01/09/18 04:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“a 1985 20ft Minnie Winnie with 400 miles”

Thirty-three years old. That’s traveling 12 miles per month. Don’t believe it.

2015 Winnebago 2101DS TT & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flagpole for US flag. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.


South of Disney World

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Posted: 01/09/18 05:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are a couple of rebuild threads going on right now in the A and C forum. Some of them may have a idea on how to fix stuff on your project. Most people here will answer you questions in a honest way.


Southeast Michigan

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Posted: 01/09/18 06:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Yes, there are a couple of MW sites on the web, but be very ready. This is not a coach that usually ends up old. Water leaks can do them in real easily. Inspect the roof right now.

It is good to see that you were told to check the tire dates.
It is also good that you plan to replace the coolant and fuel hoses. When buying fuel hose make sure you buy hose that is ethanol compatible or you will be re-doing that job in about 5~7 years.

There is another problem waiting...
The brake fluid will absorb water from the air and should be replaced, but as the rubber brake lines have probably also aged out, you should plan replace them, then when you refill and bleed the brakes, the old brake fluid will no longer be an issue.

Actually, you need to suspect every piece of rubber and somethings you don't think of a rubber as being ready to fail.

I can hear you asking..
How much is all this going to cost?
Buy the book for the chassis and any tools you don't have. It will not have built in jacks, so get a jack and jack stands (4). You will need both. There is nothing outlined that a cleaver guy that is literate and can follow instructions can't do himself. Not only will this save you the 100+$/hr at any place you take it, but if it isn't done right, you can redo it really cheaply and you will know your coach so well that your confidence will be solid.
To actually answer the question, if you do it, including buying all the tools and books, I usually see friends do this for less than 3K$. But almost 1K of that is tools and supplies that you get to keep.

Now, Can this Be Managed?? I sure hope so. Our coach is a dozen years older and has been largely reliable for the whole time we have owned it. The big thing you have to remember is that even with the low mileage, that is still an old vehicle technology wise, and it will need the maintenance that was expected in 1985. If you keep up with that, you can have many happy miles.

A piece of advice from an old guy that has helped more than a few younger people revive old RVs...
Do not change, replace or remodel anything until you have actually used the coach. Do plan on camping several nights in the driveway before you start any trip. You have a lot to learn. Some of us can help.


Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.

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