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 Post subject: Maintenance Checklist
PostPosted: May 28th, 2017, 7:10 am 
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Hi folks. I recently purchased a 2003 Concourse with 40,000 miles. Drove it home and note that it is ready for an oil change. When I take it to the Ford dealer service center, what standard things should I have the service tech look at on this visit?
I'm not real handy or informed about my new ride yet. I'd like to go in looking like I know what I am doing tho. One known problem is that the cruise control does not function. I have read that it could be a simple fix.
As always, thanks for your suggestions.

deb

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PostPosted: May 28th, 2017, 7:36 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Ford publishes a maintenance schedule (including one for heavier duty use, dirt roads, towing, etc.). So that's a good base.

You may already know/do this, but I find it is useful to arrive with a pre-printed list for them to use. Then you keep a copy and at the end you go through it with them. (I also of course tell them I'm open to doing other things if they see them, and then sometimes get a second opinion if those things come up.)

Here is a 1998 guide I have saved. You can probably find a 2003 as well, although I have a friend with a 2003 and not too much has changed in terms of overall maintenance.

Attachment:
1998 scheduled maintenance guide.pdf [138.63 KiB]
Downloaded 54 times


Without even looking at that though, I can tell you some of the things I have done or looked at (this is my second similar vehicle, previous one having been an E-250 camper van).

First off, unless I have impeccable service records from the previous owner, I expect to spend "extra" getting things up to a baseline that I KNOW myself. If any of these are known (i.e. actual service records, not vague ideas), then I might skip them. My camper van came to me at 15 years old and 95,000 miles; the Chinook at 15 years old and 49,000 miles.

1) Change all fluids (coolant/brake/differential/transmission/engine oil). On the differential, make sure they know it is Limited Slip (if it is, I believe it would be). The Ford dealer I went to didn't have a clue. "Oh then never put that in motor homes." "Really, then it's funny it's on the spec sheet and in the VIN..." Reason to know is they use a different fluid than a non-Limited Slip axle.

2) Change serpentine belt (keep removed one for emergency spare).

3) Change spark plugs* (*make sure you are confident in the person who does them) Even though they say to do them at 100,000 miles, I did them on my Chinook when I got it due to age (also did them on the van when I got it but that had 100k).

4) Air filter, oil filter.

5) Inspect brakes, renew as necessary, lube slide calipers in any case (they can stick/smoke/make you have to pull over/be expensive). Since you will have rear disc brakes, have them lube or whatever they do to the parking brake adjuster (drum in hat).

6) Check date code on all tires (you can do this - there are many guides online that will be easier than me explaining it in words, but basically it's on one side of each tire, in a week/year format). If over six years old, get new ones even if "the tread is perfect." The rubber ages out and dually problems on the road are no fun. Along the same lines, if you have the rubber valve extenders, consider true extended stems (Tireman, Bog - I think I have a post explaining and showing these).

7) I think I had wheel bearings done, but I can't remember the interval, so perhaps check the recommendation.

8) Thermostat (new).

9) Check upper and lower radiator hoses.

10) If you can park over concrete (or cardboard), make sure there are no leaks or drips that you'd want to have checked/repaired.

I'm sure I've forgotten some things, and of course we're not even getting into coach/generator at this time.

I will say that I "split" the work when I got the Chinook. I was in a large city far, far from home, and didn't know any independent mechanics (and it was 20º and I needed to get going!). I researched and went to the best rated Ford dealer in the area and had them do some work. Not only was it expensive, but they messed up most of it and I had to make a fuss and get some corrected by them and some (at my hassle and expense) later. Boo! I'm sure there are great ones, but even then you never know who's going to work on it after they wheel the gurney away.

So a month or so later I went to an independent shop and had them do the bulk of the work. Less expensive, better job, and I could talk to the mechanic face to face and they showed me things while it was hoisted up (I also was able to stay in the parking lot overnight, plugged in and all). Just something to consider.

I have not been to one, but I guess they also have Ford "fleet" type mechanics who specialize in the heavier vehicles (E-350/450/550 etc.). Not that there is a whole lot on an E-350 that is bigger than a regular van, but maybe they are more attentive. I have read of some Chinookers having found some real "gold" in this type of Ford shop.

Also consider going to specialists: Tire shop for tires, etc.

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PostPosted: May 28th, 2017, 8:20 am 
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Thank you for your considered and very helpful reply. We have a Ford dealer and service shop here, however, their online reviews are dismal. I think I will research the independents.

I do have some receipts from the previous owner. I will examine them closely.

Honestly, you have provided a wealth of information here. I just can't thank you enough. I may need to get a part time job....lol.

Best,

deb

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PostPosted: May 28th, 2017, 10:56 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Hi deb,

Glad it was helpful. Nowadays there are lots of review sites, but one I found helpful even back in the day (and maybe still now), was the MechaniX files at Car Talk website. Not just the pure ratings, but the massive comment files.

I tend to look for a one- or two-mechanic shop. I figure it's like choosing a doctor - who wants a new person each time who doesn't know you/your Chinook and has to start over? I look for a clean, tidy shop, with no smoking in the vehicle; and I usually say something up front like "I'm interested to know/see what's up, and I'm fairly particular - will that be a problem?" I find that my kind of shop will usually welcome it with enthusiasm, whereas the other kind will act like I'm being a pain. But it's all about finding a good match really, and I'm sure there are plenty of folks who just want to pick up the car, pay the bill, and not hear any more about it.

I let the mechanic know that I'd like to use genuine Ford parts unless there is a good reason not to, and I'm not looking to cut corners/will be out in the sticks depending on the rig. I also ask them to let me know about anything that's "coming down the pike" so I can plan ahead. I also ask them to save the old parts for me. Sometimes just to look for clues about how things are doing (such as spark plugs), and sometimes to keep for emergency spares.

Probably you don't have to do everything at once, so I say travel vs. finding a part time job :D

Also, although of course you don't want to drive off with a shaky rig, and doing it at home is always easiest, there ARE mechanics everywhere, so you can do things along the way if need be.

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PostPosted: May 28th, 2017, 3:00 pm 
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That maintenance checklist is awesome!!

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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2017, 5:59 am 
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Caution regarding V-10 engine oil drain bolt: This metric 14x1.5 bolt has a built-in sealing O-ring at the base flange where it contacts the oil pan; much like the oil filter. It’s recommended torque is ONLY 13 ft.lbs. i.e. just snug with a stubby wrench.

The typical quick-lube joints seriously overtighten this bolt just because it looks large, with a 16mm hex head. However, this will distort and eventually start stripping the threads in the oil pan, a place you definitely don’t want to visit.

The bolt should come out easily enough turning by finger pressure only. Mine started to need a wrench to overcome thread damage. A new bolt doesn’t help and the next step is to chase the threads with a tap, another source of potential misfortune.

Just a word of warning then to find a trusted mechanic and alert them to this torque requirement for a common service, if you don't do it yourself.

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"The Blue Chook" 2002 Concourse Dinette on 2001 E-350 chassis w V10


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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2017, 4:08 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
That's a good tip; I didn't realize that. Probably because I put on a Fumoto valve (as I have with my cars). This is a valve that takes the place of the oil drain plug, and then you essentially have an "open" or "closed" position. I first used one (with great skepticism) years ago when I got a used car with a "delicate" set of oil drain plug threads. They were okay, but the last thing I wanted to be doing was loosening and tightening that plug every 3,000 miles. Someone suggested a Fumoto valve and I thought it sounded like a recipe for disaster (a valve that could theoretically flip open and drain my oil :o :shock: " But the person who recommended it was a trusted source, and the design did look robust.

I put one on that car and have never looked back. In addition to not needing to take the plug in and out, oil changes are neat and tidy (you can put a hose on the valve and drain right into a container), and if the vehicle is ever overfilled for some reason, you can just drain a bit out, then re-close.

They have some with no nipple, with a short nipple, and with a regular length nipple. The two with the nipple can take a hose. I got the no nipple one for my Chinook but after seeing how it sits down there if I were to do it again I'd get one with a nipple for convenience. It's not in a "hang down" type of position on the oil pan. There is also an additional safety clip you can put on them (I think this comes with it if you order from Fumoto, who have reasonable prices).

Not that you'd want to put one on if it would make you worry. After all, our rigs are for fun. OTOH, I'm fairly conservative on that type of thing, and it's the last thing I worry about. I just put one on my new/used car as well (have had the one on the Chinook for three years now).

Just figured I'd mention it since the topic came up. Totally optional in most cases; maybe less optional if you have a "cranky" set of threads for one reason or another.

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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2017, 7:27 pm 
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Oh dear.....I may not be handy enough to own this rig. I think I have found the right mechanic. Poor guy.

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 2:35 am 
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Don’t be discouraged, Deb. ALL vehicles have mechanical maintenance requirements and motorhomes just add the few extra chores consistent with the house part. The Chinook is well made, reliable and hopefully the knowledge from this site will empower you to make good decisions.

It may seem too much at first but confidence will build. One tip - keep a log book or journal with receipts, notes, service performed (date and mileage) and helpful tips, easily understood in your own words. Official manuals can be daunting at times, obscured by legalese.

Sometimes we get a bit technical here delving into details for those who prefer to do most everything themselves. You certainly don’t have to follow suit so then it’s good to have a trusted mechanic. Just get the rig set up to your liking then enjoy it to build good memories.

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PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 6:38 am 
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Sorry to continue the techno-geek talk but I wanted to close out with a success story on repairing my oil drain plug. Dodged a bullet on this one as the first order repair is chasing damaged threads inside the oil pan with a tap. This operation is fraught with risk of cutting too much meat off the threads or even breaking the brittle tap inside! Been there, done that.

Anyhoooow, the attached picture shows essentials for the job. Good quality M14x1.5 tapered metric tap, new drain plug, 16mm socket and stubby wrench to restrain the overzealous hand. Not shown is WD40 to spray away cutting chips and moly assembly paste for the new plug. The old plug is shown for reference so you can see the damaged bright section

With my intense halogen work light I could see the drain pan hole has ONLY 4 threads, much like the notorious spark plugs (a topic for another day.) However the drain plug has 10 threads, leading many quick-lubers to assume a typical 20~30 ft.lb. torque should be used, or even worse an air wrench for those typically in a rush.

Fortunately the workpiece is bathed in oil for lubrication and washing chips out. It takes a steady hand to run the tap in straight, first catching existing threads then backing off periodically when resistance is felt through the damaged section. Good light and patience ensures a safe job, along with gloves, drip pan and glasses for those like me with dimming eyesight.

On a final note, the tap doesn’t restore the threads to new condition as some material is invariably cut away. Prevention is better than cure so best policy is not to over tighten in the first place. My new plug, coated in assembly grease, spun in smoothly by finger pressure till the base O-ring made contact. Then I snugged it up with the wrench no more than 1/2 turn; lesson learned.

Yes B~G, I have considered the Fumoto F-106 M14-1.5 oil drain valve but have to overcome my skepticism as a conservative worrier type. I know they make draining slow but the ability to direct hot oil into a recycling jug is attractive. I can’t count the times I’ve made a mess with 6 quarts of dirty oil sloshing about in an open pan. You have eased me in this direction.


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