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#1358587 Mon May 04 2020 09:23 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 2,888
Jim Bow Offline OP
Theres a nice 1973 Winnebago Indian (I think) 21ft, with a Dodge 440. 50K miles.
I've never had an RV so I don't know nuttin.
I walked through. Everything is original and shines like a new dime. The owner wasn't there, and he had the ign key so I couldn't fire it up.
His wife said it runs fine.
I didn't see any stains or such that might indicate leaks.

So, if I go back, what should I look for? Is that 440 a good easy to maintain power plant? Anybody got any Winnebago experiences?

Last edited by Jim Bow; Mon May 04 2020 09:24 PM.

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Water damage. Make sure the roof and windows don't leak.


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Housekeeping (Moderator) Making a Stovebolt Bed & Paint and Body Shop Forums
I had a '68 Dodge Coronet with the 440 way back when (from 70-80). It made a couple of cross-country trips, and lots of other shorter trips. I don't remember exactly how many miles we had on it when we replaced it, probably in excess of 150k but never did anything to the engine.
As far as RV's, water leakage is the death of them. If that's good, it should last a while longer. If you can get it for a good price, I'd say go for it. Expect it to rattle like gravel in a coffee can, though. They all get that way after a number of miles/years of use.

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Look closely at the exhaust manifolds. 440's and their Chevy counterparts in motorhome service, 454's, were both notorious for cracking exhaust manifolds. They get red hot on long uphill pulls due to the limited airflow in a motorhome chassis. Some shops that specialized in servicing them used to mount small electric fans on the frame aimed at the manifolds. The 440 is a real powerhouse- - - -the only thing you won't be able to pass will be a gas station!

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Overheating is the biggest issue with motor homes. Being a ‘73 I can almost guarantee it has overheated more than once. Leaks can be dealt with but engine/transmission problems are a budget killer. Not easy to work on. Is it a Class A or one of the van types? BTW we went down that rabbit hole about 20 years ago. Got several short trips out of it and sold it with a good engine for salvage.

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Looks like the old box on wheels style Martin. With that big block pushing the wall through the air it'll likely get no better than 4mpg downhill.
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Last edited by Tiny; Mon May 04 2020 11:04 PM.

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Lots of Winnebagos and other brand type As had 413 and 440 Mopars in the 60s-70s.

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The 413's in the Dodge motorhome chassis were the same engines that Dodge dump trucks used- - - -not even similar to the passenger car engines! I had an old Champion motorhome with one in it. The cylinder heads were different, and it used an oddball timing cover and a water pump that was almost impossible to find. The old engine was pretty bulletproof, but it was extremely difficult to find parts for. I think it had about an 8:1 compression ratio!

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose"
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Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
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Joined: Jul 2004
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Those things are about as aerodynamic as a shoe box! Seems I remember hearing back in the day that 5 or 6 mpg was not that uncommon.


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My father had one of those and Tiny is correct but it was more like a sail in a wind. My mother was afraid of it. I convinced him to sell it and use the money for his trips.

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