1978 Fleetwood Pace Arrow
Can you help us get rid of an RV?
That is the usual question and words spoken to me when I answer the phone. Trailers, motorhomes, pop-ups and more, they all need a new home. After doing this for about the 100th time, I thought it might be nice to pick up one of these bargains for myself; I need a Book Tour motorhome (Overlooked Pots of Gold).
So, one day I was going to help a brother and sister (client) get rid of their deceased parent’s motorhome (this scenario is very common). Of course, it was not running, not sure how long it had been sitting in storage; obviously, years. It was a bit out of my way, but the texted pics raised my curiosity. It was 27 feet (perfect), Class A (perfect), from the 70s (perfect) and appeared in good shape (perfect). Why not? Plus, it was FREE.
I inspected the unit which was partially covered from a tall overhang. Surprisingly, both the interior and exterior were in quite good shape given it was a 1978. It definitely had the 70s thang going on...and I love that! Lots of wood paneling, orange and brown colored fabric/wood window shades (those never wear out!!) and the Gold captain’s chairs...yep, I was ALL IN.
I’ll be back
Upon inspection, it first appeared to need tires all around, as the current ones were flat. It would need batteries and gas replacement...the tank smelled of bad gas. I called a friend experienced with Frankensteining these old dinosaurs back to life and we met back with the client a week later.
First, the client made sure I met with them at the DMV to transfer the title into my name. No big deal, I’m OK with that. Then, off to picking it up. The deceased owner’s children came out with wives, husbands and friends. It was a small army of whatever it takes and whatever you need...with a let’s git ‘er done attitude. It took a few hours, getting it to run and miraculously being able to re-inflate the tires (with using the one spare it had on the back). That was a huge savings. Although, I knew it would need new tires as these were 30 years old, I would not need them immediately. Our goal was to just get the beast out of the storage facility that night...whatever it takes.
Driving into the sunset...blind and gasping
Utilizing a portable fuel pump to bypass the gas tank and a lot of praying, it fired up about 5 minutes before the old country storage yard closed. Dark—yes. It was now night time, the thing was lurching, spitting, coughing, smoking...but damn, it was running!
The tires had serious flat spots as I bounced down the road and I could not see a thing from behind the windshield. It was covered with spider webs, pigeon crap and dust. But, did that stop us...no way. This is TRAILER CODE; I love it!
We took the back roads driving it to my friend's shop, noisy as hell, bumping up and down and breathing all the fumes. Switching out gas cans along the way; this thing was actually running! It was scary as heck to stop; the brake pedal went down but did not return, up. I had to keep bending over and pulling back up on the pedal.
Storage for a few months
I then transferred it into a nearby storage facility until I got things lined up: repair location, mechanic, parts and a tire shop to trade tires on rims. My mechanic’s house is like a birds nest, it’s on top of a steep hill in the woods. How I got it up his driveway, I have no idea. I don’t want to think about getting back down.
Switch parts and save $$$
I was given another motorhome, for free, that ran and had brand new tires. These tires would fit the Pace Arrow. So, I accepted it and swapped the tires, took the water heater for a rental of mine, grabbed the brand new aftermarket Isringhausen seats being stored in it (a bonus...frequently RVs will have extra goodies inside!!) and...I could not pass up the 8 track stereo. This was another top of the line motorhome, an Executive from the 70s with all the bells and whistles. But, it had a slipping trani and I did not want to deal with that. It ended up paying out over $3500 in parts and money when I sold it. Not a bad investment for saying, "Uh Okay" when asked....."Can you help us get rid of this RV."
Here she is, 1978 Pace Arrow ready to hit the road (first set of pics)
Some memories of the journey (second set of pics)