1978 Fleetwood Pace Arrow
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?
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 things 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
With a portable fuel pump sitting on top of the carb, cans of gas lined up inside the cab (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 nighttime, 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!
Driving with the dog house (interior engine cover) off, noisy as hell and breathing all the fumes, we took the back roads to my friends shop. Switching out gas cans next to my legs as I drove; 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 that ran and had brand new tires. These tires would fit the Pace Arrow. So, I accepted, for FREE, the other motorhome, swapped the tires (a not so easy job), 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. MAN, I love it, it was also a 70s unit, top of the line, Executive, with all the bells and whistles. But, it had a slipping trani and I did not want to deal with that.
In all, the FREE Executive paid 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.”
Right on track
So, in all, new tires, brakes, brake lines, calipers, master cylinder, plugs, wipers, carpeting and an alternator belt were installed. The exhaust manifold gasket was replaced, performance exhaust and chrome tips added to give it that Bad Azz sound aaaaaand look, some rear corner rot repaired on each side, the roof was cleaned and sealed, the 8-track stereo installed and, my favorite...dusting off the CB and adding new antennas (nice). I changed out the marker lights to LED and will complete my office space in the back.
This classic 70s machine is back on the street, purrin’ like a kitten...thanks to Jimmy, my mechanic and my vision and love for all things 70s.
More good stuff coming next month. Looking forward to hitting the US Book Tour in style...breaker, breaker.