Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Class A Motorhomes: GMC Class A
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Joined: 11/16/2009

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Posted: 01/24/23 02:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have you recently owned a GMC Class A manufactured in the 1970s? Can it be reliable transportation? Or is it strictly a collector-hobbyist thing?


Southeast Michigan

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Posted: 01/24/23 05:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oh Hedgehopper,

Grab something and hold on tight.....

If you are literate and either are or willing to become a effective technician, a GMC (TZE) can be a real effective investment. If you are not willing to do at least the required regular maintenance, I have to suggest that you reconsider, they can get very expensive real fast - just like any big toy.

Of the nearly 13,000 built, about 8000 are still on the road after almost 50 years. A few years back, we did a 11,400 mile travel season and the only repair required enroute was a broke drawer slide.

We do have a line on the community that keeps proving true:
A reliable and ready to travel coach will cost you about 35K$us. That is all at once or as a kit. (What I always have to add is that sweat is credited at full shop rate.) Shop rate in most of the USA is over 100$/hr these days and nothing on a GMC is all that fast. If you don't have a good place to work on it yourself, that can be a hindrance. If you do the work yourself, it can get done right the first time and with that 100$/hr credit, you can afford the tools to do it. Oh, and all of the service documentation can be downloaded. Plus that, there are three really good companies that can supply any part you may need.

Truth be told, our coach is in my barn for the winter and I don't want to drive it over the salt or we could take off tomorrow without a worry. As we pull out of the drive next, the Odo will roll over 180K. She is a 73 23ft Glacier and largely original.

I do have two suggestions before you go too far:
Find and read the two GMC groups GMCnet and GMC Forum. You will find a lot of trip reports that include problems, but when you read those look at all the other names on the board and realize that there are a lot of us out there going a lot of miles that don't write about the problems we didn't have.
Next, under GMCMI, locate a local chapter (of the 16 in north America) and make contact with them and get to a rally so you can see working coaches in the flesh and talk to the owners.

What really makes those coaches so worth owning is for the class, but the community of helping and supportive people all over. They make doing what it takes all very worth your while.

One place to not count on for good help is Face Book. There are several groups there, but I have seen not just wrong, but dangerous answers to asked questions. This includes salvageable coaches that got sent to scrape because the owner took bad advice.

I could go on, but it is a long day and I am tired.

See the picture in the sigfile? That was 2000 miles from home and a marvelous excursion, but not our longest by any stretch.

Edit(Opps, that was not the picture I thought it was. That one was only about 600 miles. The picture was supposed to be us near Devil's tower.)


Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs (one dear dog is waiting for us at the bridge) going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.


Salem, Oregon

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Posted: 01/24/23 10:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[emoticon] Hi, Oh the memories. Way back when????????? I was a mechanic at an Oldsmobile / GMC dealer. I worked on two of them. Or was it three? They had me exchange the rear interior of two Motorhomes with each other. I don't remeber what the difference was, but that is what the customer and the dealer wanted me to do. I believe that I also replaced or re-installed the rear suspension air bags. We called them Footballs because that is what they looked like before they were installed. I also rebuilt the automatic transmission on one of them. I think it was called a Turbo 425. It was the easiest automatic transmision that I ever rebuilt, but the hardest one to remove and re-install. They were very well built and drove very nice. I think there were only two sizes, a 23'er and a 26'er.

This was maybe 45 years ago, so I might have a few things wrong.

"> Bob ">
2005 Airstream Safari 25-B
2000 Lincoln Navigator
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Apollo Beach,FL

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Posted: 01/25/23 06:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've considered getting a GMC, and may do so when I decide to downsize. I can't give any GMC specific advise other than I had a 1966 Toronado and a 1968 Toronado.
They were my favorite cars. The front wheel drive and engine are the same as used on the GMC motorhomes and I had no issues with either of my Toronados.

2013 Dutch Star 4338- all electric
Toad is 2015 F-150 with bikes,kayaks and Harley aboard

Chum lee

Albuquerque, NM

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Posted: 01/25/23 07:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hedgehopper wrote:

Have you recently owned a GMC Class A manufactured in the 1970s? Can it be reliable transportation? Or is it strictly a collector-hobbyist thing?

I agree with the above comments. Is it reliable? Well, . . . that depends on you. It's a +-50 year old vehicle. As such, it probably has 1,000's of issues that need attention, NOW, and 1000's more that will need your attention in the future. As the owner, are you confident that you can see and resolve those issues before they put you on the side of the road and/or ruin your camping trip, or, are you the standard retail buyer with AAA who buys an extended service warranty/contract that (you think) will rescue you from what you do not know. Or, . . . . somewhere in between?

These are the questions only you can answer.

Chum lee


Beautyful Downtown Gladstone, MO

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Joined: 10/26/2002

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Posted: 01/25/23 10:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Interesting GMC Class A info.
I had the privilege of touring a gathering of GMC MHs. A couple had been cut in half and extended. One had a rare fuel injected 500" Cadillac motor installed. I couldn't even count the $$ sitting in front of me.

Another interesting place for GMC MH owners.


* This post was edited 01/25/23 11:04am by RLS7201 *

95 Bounder 32H F53 460
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NE Florida

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Posted: 02/03/23 08:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I see them for sale on FB Marketplace here in Florida often.
Usually in poor condition or salvage.
I have wondered what kind of gas mileage the get?
I have had 2 Winnebago's 1974 and 1983 and lived with 6-8 mpg and wondered how they compare?

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