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[GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326763] Tue, 05 December 2017 17:00 Go to next message
rod utterback is currently offline  rod utterback   United States
Messages: 17
Registered: April 2016
Karma: 1
Junior Member
Hello Everyone,

I just completed a San Diego to Chicago round trip, as a maiden voyage after 2 years of renovations and upgrades. During the 4,500+ mile trip, I was able to real world test everything. These are such great designs that it was a truly enjoyable adventure. I averaged an “incident” about every other day. These were not breakdowns rather opportunities for improvement. I would like to share my observations and my opinions. I’m only relaying my experience, your trip experience will of course vary.

The first day resulted in only a 150 mile progress. Traveling slow and cautiously. This was the first time I had driven the GMC on the highway, actually the first time I had driven any RV on the highway. The size and width of the coach took getting used to. Accelerating and braking performance was disappointing. Even though the entire brake system was completely new and the 455 was running perfectly. Weight and wind resistance can’t be avoided. San Diego county is mountainous with a max elevation of about 4800 feet. Climbing from 800 feet to 4800 feet was typically done at 40 mph full throttle. Ambient temp was 80*. The new fuel gauges became random and served as “general” indicators. I later decided that 200 miles on the odometer and it was time to fill up. Fuel consumption for the trip averaged 11-12 mpg.

The second day was brought to a close with a broken belt that destroyed a second belt, leaving just 1 belt running. It happened after a fuel stop. My new belts and fancy alternator tensioner didn’t save me but the remaining single belt for the PS, water pump and a/c did! Running on just the coach and house battery got me to the repair shop 50 miles down the road. $200 later I was ready to stop for the night.

The third day was uneventful. Becoming comfortable with driving speeds at 65 mph. MPG didn’t change. The rebuilt dash a/c worked fine as we crossed the desert areas of California and Arizona. There were slight hard starts after fueling stops. With higher ambient temps, venting of fuel became an issue. Trying to fill the tank(s) became messy. Almost every stop caused a few gallons of fuel to dump on the pavement. Although the entire fuel system including all hoses, clamps, sending units, replaced and tanks cleaned. Still don’t know why.

The next day we noticed the smell of axle grease in the cab. Turns out the diff cover that was professionally resealed in San Diego was leaking badly. $100 later problem was fixed and remains good to this day.

On the fifth day some where in the pan handle of Texas it was time to stop for the day. Driving the entire day at 65 mph, ambient temp 99*, to say the least it was hot, hot, hot. A shower, a good meal and a good night’s sleep sounded perfect. However after positioning on the camp pad and shutting off the engine…..BOOM and a fog of R134A. Pretty much got the attention of everyone in the camp ground. Carefully looking into the right wheel well exposed the separated end fitting from its hose at the a/c compressor. So much for the brand new after market a/c hose.

The A/C was never repaired properly, although I spent several hundreds of dollars and a lot of time trying to. Of all the on the road repairs I think A/C is the most difficult. I gave up when the last shop (after a day’s worth of effort} proclaimed 70* at the dash outlet. The wife was beginning to dislike traveling in the GMC.

After 3 months at our destination in the hot, humid Midwest it was time to bring the GMC home to Cali.

Before leaving I thought I could improve the steering so I replaced the steering input shaft and CV joint. I discovered almost all the steering play was a result of wear in the splined slip shaft. Both were replaced anyway. The trip home incurred only two failures over 4 days of travel. The upgraded belt tensioner and belts that were replaced on the first half of the trip were installed wrong and caused the alternator belt to fail again. The shore power cable failed shorting ground to one phase. All in all an easy trip home. Now I was more relaxed with the motorhome and less tense and had several observations. When I first joined this forum, it seemed that certain issues were a constant topic. Tires….I used the steel rims with standard size 16.5 inch Firestone Transforce HT tires set at 70 psi. 5000 miles with no wear/problem. Vapor Lock……I run a new mechanical fuel pump with dual in line filters and no inner fender liners. Occasional slow start but nothing to disable the engine. Overheating….Stock radiator, 180* thermostat, stock fan clutch, hi performance water pump (applied gmc). Temp guage max rise was 1 needle width. Brakes….p30 master cylinder, 80mm calipers, fresh linings, wheel cylinders. No brake fade. Always had a good pedal.
I mention these because as a new owner and new to the forum I was worried that I didn’t take enough effort and money to be safe enough.
All this might be the “minimum” but with careful driving it seemed to me to be more than enough. I’m home but ready for the next GMC adventure.

The biggest surprise was when I noticed the GPS was reading 5 mph faster than the speedometer!
Most of the driving was spent in the 65 – 70 mph range unknowingly!

My next improvements are: sway bars front and rear, new compressor for air ride, repair dash a/c, aux vac pump

Rod Utterback
1973 Canyonlands
Escondido, Ca.

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Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326764 is a reply to message #326763] Tue, 05 December 2017 17:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Brian K is currently offline  Brian K   United States
Messages: 29
Registered: May 2017
Location: Bellevue, WA
Karma: 1
Junior Member
Rod,

Sounds like a great trip. I think almost every "long" trip I've taken I've had some sort of problem. But even then, I can't wait to get back up on the horse for the next trip!


Brian K 1977 Eleganza II, TZE167V100261 Bellevue, WA Rebuilt 455, New brake system, a lot of Original Equipment ready to fall apart (discovering more as I go along....)
Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326765 is a reply to message #326763] Tue, 05 December 2017 17:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Matt Colie is currently offline  Matt Colie   United States
Messages: 6457
Registered: March 2007
Location: S.E. Michigan
Karma: 32
Senior Member
Rod,

As one that has broken two of them, you need to look at your rims. Up until the later years, GMC rims were not made for radial tires and they will crack given the chance. Some place on the GMC web there is a discussion of how to find the circle R mark you need to find. If you can't locate 16' steel rims cheap, consider buying alloy.

Also if you get the coach weighed, you may find out the 70 is too high. 73&4 coaches are lighter than later because Gemini used plywood and not particle board for the interior.

Next, you should have a front sway (actually an anti-roll bar to us engineers) already. Be cautious of putting too big a bar in the back as some have found it to make leveling at a campsite problematic.

With my '73, it was not possible to replace the alternator belt without removing both the fan and the A/C belt. So, if you need to do so, buy two and use wire tie or safety wire to secure it behind all that stuff so it is ready when you need it.

Lastly, even with the P30 master cylinder, you still get no brake from the rear set. That is what the "Reaction Bars" (aka floating backplate) set fixes with no other changes.

Glad you are enjoying the coach.

Matt


Matt & Mary Colie - '73 Glacier 23 - Members GMCMI, GMCGL, GMCES
Electronically Controlled Quiet Engine Cooling Fan
OE Rear Drum Brakes with Applied Control Arms
SE Michigan - Twixt A2 and Detroit
Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326766 is a reply to message #326763] Tue, 05 December 2017 17:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jimk is currently offline  jimk   United States
Messages: 4498
Registered: July 2006
Location: Belmont, CA
Karma: 5
Senior Member
Rod ,
I take it back, your timing sems ok after reading the hard cranking when
engine was hot.

On Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 3:42 PM, Jim Kanomata wrote:

> Rod,
> You need to increase the ignition timing by 2 degrees to perk up the
> engine.
>
> On Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 3:34 PM, Brian Krikorian wrote:
>
>> Rod,
>>
>> Sounds like a great trip. I think almost every "long" trip I've taken
>> I've had some sort of problem. But even then, I can't wait to get back up
>> on
>> the horse for the next trip!
>> --
>> Brian K
>> 1977 Eleganza II, TZE167V100261
>> Bellevue, WA
>> Rebuilt 455, New brake system, a lot of Original Equipment ready to fall
>> apart (discovering more as I go along....)
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> GMCnet mailing list
>> Unsubscribe or Change List Options:
>> http://list.gmcnet.org/mailman/listinfo/gmclist_list.gmcnet.org
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Jim Kanomata
> Applied/GMC, Newark,CA
> jimk-AT-appliedairfilters-DOT-com
> http://www.appliedgmc.com
> 1-800-752-7502
>



--
Jim Kanomata
Applied/GMC, Newark,CA
jimk-AT-appliedairfilters-DOT-com
http://www.appliedgmc.com
1-800-752-7502
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Applied/GMC
jimk-AT-appliedairfilters-DOT-com
www.appliedgmc.com
1-800-752-7502
Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326767 is a reply to message #326764] Tue, 05 December 2017 17:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jimk is currently offline  jimk   United States
Messages: 4498
Registered: July 2006
Location: Belmont, CA
Karma: 5
Senior Member
Rod,
You need to increase the ignition timing by 2 degrees to perk up the
engine.

On Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 3:34 PM, Brian Krikorian wrote:

> Rod,
>
> Sounds like a great trip. I think almost every "long" trip I've taken
> I've had some sort of problem. But even then, I can't wait to get back up
> on
> the horse for the next trip!
> --
> Brian K
> 1977 Eleganza II, TZE167V100261
> Bellevue, WA
> Rebuilt 455, New brake system, a lot of Original Equipment ready to fall
> apart (discovering more as I go along....)
>
> _______________________________________________
> GMCnet mailing list
> Unsubscribe or Change List Options:
> http://list.gmcnet.org/mailman/listinfo/gmclist_list.gmcnet.org
>



--
Jim Kanomata
Applied/GMC, Newark,CA
jimk-AT-appliedairfilters-DOT-com
http://www.appliedgmc.com
1-800-752-7502
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Jim Kanomata
Applied/GMC
jimk-AT-appliedairfilters-DOT-com
www.appliedgmc.com
1-800-752-7502
Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326768 is a reply to message #326763] Tue, 05 December 2017 17:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Gary Worobec is currently offline  Gary Worobec   United States
Messages: 839
Registered: May 2005
Karma: 1
Senior Member
Rod, If you are getting 11-12 mpg you are doing extremely well. That is a couple of miles more per gallon than the usual average. If your coach is a 26 then that is fantastic.

> On Dec 5, 2017, at 3:00 PM, rod utterback wrote:
>
> Hello Everyone,
>
> I just completed a San Diego to Chicago round trip, as a maiden voyage after 2 years of renovations and upgrades. During the 4,500+ mile trip, I was able to real world test everything. These are such great designs that it was a truly enjoyable adventure. I averaged an “incident” about every other day. These were not breakdowns rather opportunities for improvement. I would like to share my observations and my opinions. I’m only relaying my experience, your trip experience will of course vary.
>
> The first day resulted in only a 150 mile progress. Traveling slow and cautiously. This was the first time I had driven the GMC on the highway, actually the first time I had driven any RV on the highway. The size and width of the coach took getting used to. Accelerating and braking performance was disappointing. Even though the entire brake system was completely new and the 455 was running perfectly. Weight and wind resistance can’t be avoided. San Diego county is mountainous with a max elevation of about 4800 feet. Climbing from 800 feet to 4800 feet was typically done at 40 mph full throttle. Ambient temp was 80*. The new fuel gauges became random and served as “general” indicators. I later decided that 200 miles on the odometer and it was time to fill up. Fuel consumption for the trip averaged 11-12 mpg.
>
> The second day was brought to a close with a broken belt that destroyed a second belt, leaving just 1 belt running. It happened after a fuel stop. My new belts and fancy alternator tensioner didn’t save me but the remaining single belt for the PS, water pump and a/c did! Running on just the coach and house battery got me to the repair shop 50 miles down the road. $200 later I was ready to stop for the night.
>
> The third day was uneventful. Becoming comfortable with driving speeds at 65 mph. MPG didn’t change. The rebuilt dash a/c worked fine as we crossed the desert areas of California and Arizona. There were slight hard starts after fueling stops. With higher ambient temps, venting of fuel became an issue. Trying to fill the tank(s) became messy. Almost every stop caused a few gallons of fuel to dump on the pavement. Although the entire fuel system including all hoses, clamps, sending units, replaced and tanks cleaned. Still don’t know why.
>
> The next day we noticed the smell of axle grease in the cab. Turns out the diff cover that was professionally resealed in San Diego was leaking badly. $100 later problem was fixed and remains good to this day.
>
> On the fifth day some where in the pan handle of Texas it was time to stop for the day. Driving the entire day at 65 mph, ambient temp 99*, to say the least it was hot, hot, hot. A shower, a good meal and a good night’s sleep sounded perfect. However after positioning on the camp pad and shutting off the engine…..BOOM and a fog of R134A. Pretty much got the attention of everyone in the camp ground. Carefully looking into the right wheel well exposed the separated end fitting from its hose at the a/c compressor. So much for the brand new after market a/c hose.
>
> The A/C was never repaired properly, although I spent several hundreds of dollars and a lot of time trying to. Of all the on the road repairs I think A/C is the most difficult. I gave up when the last shop (after a day’s worth of effort} proclaimed 70* at the dash outlet. The wife was beginning to dislike traveling in the GMC.
>
> After 3 months at our destination in the hot, humid Midwest it was time to bring the GMC home to Cali.
>
> Before leaving I thought I could improve the steering so I replaced the steering input shaft and CV joint. I discovered almost all the steering play was a result of wear in the splined slip shaft. Both were replaced anyway. The trip home incurred only two failures over 4 days of travel. The upgraded belt tensioner and belts that were replaced on the first half of the trip were installed wrong and caused the alternator belt to fail again. The shore power cable failed shorting ground to one phase. All in all an easy trip home. Now I was more relaxed with the motorhome and less tense and had several observations. When I first joined this forum, it seemed that certain issues were a constant topic. Tires….I used the steel rims with standard size 16.5 inch Firestone Transforce HT tires set at 70 psi. 5000 miles with no wear/problem. Vapor Lock……I run a new mechanical fuel pump with dual in line filters and no inner fender liners. Occasional slow start but nothing to disable the engine. Overheating….Stock radiator, 180* thermostat, stock fan clutch, hi performance water pump (applied gmc). Temp guage max rise was 1 needle width. Brakes….p30 master cylinder, 80mm calipers, fresh linings, wheel cylinders. No brake fade. Always had a good pedal.
> I mention these because as a new owner and new to the forum I was worried that I didn’t take enough effort and money to be safe enough.
> All this might be the “minimum” but with careful driving it seemed to me to be more than enough. I’m home but ready for the next GMC adventure.
>
> The biggest surprise was when I noticed the GPS was reading 5 mph faster than the speedometer!
> Most of the driving was spent in the 65 – 70 mph range unknowingly!
>
> My next improvements are: sway bars front and rear, new compressor for air ride, repair dash a/c, aux vac pump
>
> Rod Utterback
> 1973 Canyonlands
> Escondido, Ca.
>
> _______________________________________________
> GMCnet mailing list
> Unsubscribe or Change List Options:
> http://list.gmcnet.org/mailman/listinfo/gmclist_list.gmcnet.org

Gary Worobec
gtw5-AT-earthlink-DOT-net
1973 23 GMC Glacier
1935 Dodge pickup






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Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326769 is a reply to message #326764] Tue, 05 December 2017 17:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Matt Colie is currently offline  Matt Colie   United States
Messages: 6457
Registered: March 2007
Location: S.E. Michigan
Karma: 32
Senior Member
Brian K wrote on Tue, 05 December 2017 18:34
Rod,

Sounds like a great trip. I think almost every "long" trip I've taken I've had some sort of problem. But even then, I can't wait to get back up on the horse for the next trip!

Well Brian,

That is just not a given.
In 2014, we went to the internationals in both Montgomery, TX and Chippewa Falls, WI. This would be less surprising, but we went to Texas by way of the Natchez Trace and returned through by a different route. Chippewa Falls was a stop on the way back from Yellowstone and places north. Those together added up to just a little less than 12K miles. We did have to make a repair during all this, one of the draw guides broke and had to be glued back together.

The year did require 10 bogie greasings (should have been more), 3 front lube jobs and 2 oil changes. You just can't skip the required maintenance.

Matt


Matt & Mary Colie - '73 Glacier 23 - Members GMCMI, GMCGL, GMCES
Electronically Controlled Quiet Engine Cooling Fan
OE Rear Drum Brakes with Applied Control Arms
SE Michigan - Twixt A2 and Detroit
Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326775 is a reply to message #326763] Tue, 05 December 2017 21:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wackster is currently offline  Wackster   United States
Messages: 14
Registered: November 2017
Location: Baltimore
Karma: 0
Junior Member
Rod,

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences and observations from the maiden voyage. As a new owner that drove a new-to-me coach home to Baltimore from Phoenix last December, I was very interested in your story. I averaged 8.5 MPG on my 2300 mile trip (1976 23' with 455 and OEM Rochester Quadrajet carburetor) and am most curious about your engine, final drive and fuel delivery setup. Regarding the the gas over-fill experiences, I resorted to extremely slow fill-ups. I never came close to even the first detente setting on the fill nozzle. Even so, I recall having about a 1/2 quart of gasoline over-fill/spillage at several fueling stops. Like you, I have read much about vapor lock and several other hot-button topics, but am now curious whether your and my tank filling experiences are typical and how to avoid them. I took to estimating gas needed based on miles driven and stopped filling 5 gal or so before I anticipated full tanks. Based on your experiences, I'm also making a mental note to check that I have a full compliment of on-board spare belts. Save travels.


Wackster - 1976 23' Crestmont Baltimore, Maryland
Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326778 is a reply to message #326775] Tue, 05 December 2017 21:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Billy Massey is currently offline  Billy Massey   United States
Messages: 662
Registered: January 2004
Location: Central Texas
Karma: 4
Senior Member

Www.bdub.net/Belts.pdf

On Dec 5, 2017 9:10 PM, "James Wack" wrote:

Based on your experiences, I'm also making a mental note to check that I
have a full compliment of on-board spare belts.
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bdub
bdub.net
Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands [message #326849 is a reply to message #326763] Thu, 07 December 2017 13:15 Go to previous message
jessfarr is currently offline  jessfarr   United States
Messages: 62
Registered: August 2004
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Member
Now that is a darn good idea.Why didn't I think of that?

jofarr
74,76,78 26'''
soddy daisy tn




Original message
From: "Matt Colie"
To: gmclist-AT-list-DOT-gmcnet-DOT-org;
Dated: 12/5/2017 6:48:51 PM
Subject: Re: [GMCnet] 1st Voyage in my 1973 Canyonlands
- - -

With my '73, it was not possible to replace the alternator belt without removing both the fan and the A/C belt. So, if you need to do so, buy two and
use wire tie or safety wire to secure it behind all that stuff so it is ready when you need it.
_______________________________________________
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Unsubscribe or Change List Options:
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jesse farr, soddy tn USA '74 Canyonlands 260
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