Chinook RV Forum

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2017, 9:06 am 
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Joined: February 17th, 2015, 1:57 pm
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Location: Marysville, WA
Welcome! Now relax, enjoy, and take the upgrades step by step.

The tires I replaced on my Chinook had well under 25K miles but were well over 10 years old. Rubber may look OK but age does affect it. I went to the Cooper HT3's.

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2017, 10:50 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
hannafree wrote:
I'm going to cancel my Ford garage appt. (he didn't know what a Chinook was), and proceed to find a local mechanic.


I'm all for independent mechanics - even if you do go to a Ford dealer it's good to get a second opinion. That said, I wouldn't worry too much about whether they are familiar with a Chinook. Any chassis things they will be working on will be Ford, so it could be any brand RV and not matter. Also, Chinooks were made in the NW and mostly not since 2005, so maybe not that well known in Maine. One thing I WOULD check on though, is if they are familiar with the E-350/E-450 chassis/duallies. Some shops are not, and/or can't lift the Chinook. Some Ford dealers specify in heavier trucks (amublances, etc.) and may be a good bet. Sometimes they are called "fleet" shops.

hannafree wrote:
I really didn't know there was an engine inside the cab! That's good news for engine access.


Well I was exaggerating slightly. The engine is sort of partway under the hood, and partway in the cab. It's a van thing.

hannafree wrote:
I sincerely hope I don't need a new set of tires, these have a lot of life left in them, or so it seems. But the Ford garage that checked out the front end before I bought it said it was an "out of round" tire. That is my most immediate need to fix as it's awful to drive over 55 mph, and the 400 miles that I drove it didn't help a bit.


I've looked at many dozens of RV's for sale, and I can count on one hand the number of them that would have come with tires that didn't need replacing. So please do check the date codes on all seven tires. Tires are important, both for safety and ride -- and because having tire problems on the road (or worrying about them) is completely un-fun. Checking the date codes is something you can do yourself for free.

hannafree wrote:
The rear tire and cover are pretty darn heavy, in the way, and the mount is one of the only rusty places in the whole camper. I'm thinking of taking it off and just using a tire repair inflator, which is also kind of risky in terms of actually needing the spare. I've seen that some of you put it on top with some kind of rooftop reinforcement, or up front. Hmmm. Recent opinions from those who have done it or taken it off?


I won't say there aren't use cases in which a spare could be left behind (you only stay on main highways, have road service, and are willing to pay whatever it takes to get a new tire brought to you), but I don't think I'd do that at your stage (who knows yet how you will use your rig?). I would either keep it on the rear mount (have it inspected/repaired as necessary), or mount a front hitch and carry it there (that's what I do). If you search there are threads talking about it and giving part numbers etc. I would not put a 100# tire/rim on the roof (maybe if going to Alaska carry an unmounted tire up there along with the regular spare).

Carrying a compressor is great (Viair makes some nice ones you clip onto your battery), but many times a flat will have damage to where it can't be easily patched or re-inflated (I do still carry a patch kit because you never know).

Even if you can't or don't want to change a tire yourself, if you have the tire/rim plus tools, someone else may be able to help - whether it be a friend, good samaritan, or road service.

hannafree wrote:
Also, I'd dearly love to get the carpet out of there and replace it with a vinyl or wood floor. In terms of resale, does that put off the Chinook purists who want everything original? The carpet is musty and has some stains, not to mention MORE of the green that is pretty overwhelming - and that I will get used to because the carpet isn't the priority.


I suppose there are always people who want original, but I can't imagine keeping musty teal carpeting just in case one of those people wants to buy my Chinook. I'd guess most people would vastly prefer a nice wood/linoleum/etc. floor. I don't live by re-sale myself (I want to make it how I want it, not the next person), but if I did, then I'd say it's not so much modifications that put people off, it's hack job type ones. If you do a nice job on almost anything, someone will like it.

The one "thing" with RV flooring is they generally carpet the whole thing, THEN put in the walls and furniture. This can leave some places where you have to make some contouring cuts/trim/etc. (presuming you're leaving the walls in place :lol: ), but it has been done many times. You can remove pretty much all of the furniture in the living room without too much trouble. Most people leave the cab alone.

If there is must, I'd want to check for leaks, btw.

hannafree wrote:
I plan to take out the fold down Flexsteel couch (and keep it for resale) and replace it with a real mattress, a nice cover and pillows to lean on behind. Has anyone done this? I was thinking of using the settee/table, but I like it too much and want to keep it. Another non-priority right now, but looming large. I find this couch wholly uncomfortable and have been putting the table down at night.


I think I slept one night on the Flexsteel couch. It just wasn't for me. I did a mod with parts from another RV couch (that was comfortable), but it's pretty simple to just make a 32" wide (or so) bed. If you remove the seat/back of the couch (just need a few spanners - I think I might have posted photos here in the past), then the frame remains. You can run slats across from the inboard edge of the frame to the 2 x 4 ledger that's on the wall and voila, twin-like bed. The base is around 31" wide, so if you have a little overhang you could easily get 34" or more. Of course you can get fancier too, depending on what you want.

BG

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PostPosted: June 17th, 2017, 6:21 am 
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Joined: May 14th, 2017, 4:32 am
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You really helped. I was in a panic, buyers remorse, and got through it thanks to all of you. I'm still pretty darn naive but gaining. When the Chinook (yet to be named) was in the shop I really missed it and never stopped thinking about it. It's creeping into my soul.

The fixes (I hope) were a tune-up because two cylinders were not firing, two new tires with balancing, rotation, and alignment, took the spare off because the mount was cracked, and checked the exhaust (OK) and doghouse cover for exhaust leaks (also OK). In spite of all your good advice I ended up at a dealer near me who knew Chinooks, said all the right things (very good salesman) and turned out to be expensive but maybe OK in the long run - about $1600. It's running well, the bouncing down the road (ONE tire that wore badly on the inside) is gone, but I have yet to take it any distance.

This weekend Freeport, Maine has free camping at Winslow Park for residents, so I'm going 5 miles down the road to try out my new camper and continue to store things and set it up.

I am grateful to have gotten through the very hard beginning on to the next stage, whatever that is.

Now, do any of you know where to get seat covers for the 2001 Concourse that fit over the top that is not a separate head rest and somehow accommodate the armrest?????

Ever onward.


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PostPosted: June 17th, 2017, 6:58 am 
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Hannafree...welcome! Bottom line--hang in. All that has been relayed by others about the good bones of our Chinooks. The mechanical stuff you mentioned all seems "normal" and the advice others have given on that score sound. If you want a Rig for yourself (and perhaps one other), there is nothing better!

My wife and I have a 2004 Premier that we bought used and have been using for nearly four years. Long trips to Gapse Peninsula, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Montana and Wyoming, Smokies...with regular shorter trips all over Maine (Cobscook Bay is our favorite), New Hampshire, and Vermont. We are based out of Boston.

Longest we have been Turtle at one time is six weeks, and we had no trouble. We sleep with the couch and table down (full queen plus). We have found that it is really easy to convert the bed. We put down a heavy cotton blanket to help smooth things out, then a pair of REI self-inflating mattresses (that we deflate and store behind the couch during the day), finished off with a nice double sleeping bag (much easier than using sheets and having to make up a bed. With the inflatable mattresses, we find the bed (including the original flex steel couch to be quite comfortable. We would never get rid of the dinette...just too darn cozy to have it for eating and the combination of that seating with the couch up in the morning can't be beat for having coffee and a read before setting out for the day to hike or bike (we carry two electric assist bikes (high-tech Copenhagen Wheels on a rack mounted on the front of the rig. We also carry a canoe on the top (remove thwart and it can be placed over the AC). Have not done any real mods--other than get rid of the TV (replaced it with a shelf for books) and the microwave (had matching cabinet doors made and use that space as a pantry...totally useful).

So, I echo all that has been said here...if you bought the rig cuz you like to travel and want something small enough to be able to get into remote camping sites, you have (in my mind) the best rig you could have.

...glad to have another rig in the area!

David


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PostPosted: June 17th, 2017, 10:25 am 
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hannafree wrote:
Now, do any of you know where to get seat covers for the 2001 Concourse that fit over the top that is not a separate head rest and somehow accommodate the armrest?????

Many seat covers these days have a velcro opening for side air bags, which helps somewhat. I usually find though that I have to remove my armrests (4 on mine) and actually cut new holes in the covers to accommodate them.

Anyway so first figure out how your armrests come off. Mine require unzipping their covers and using a big Torx socket to unscrew a big bolt. Your later model probably is a Flexsteel seat and uses a much easier push-in-and-turn method, one of those shown in this video:

https://youtu.be/_j5Wr58WEZo

As for shopping, search eBay and Amazon for "high back seat cover". I've gotten quite nice ones from Amazon for dirt cheap. Also places like: http://www.dashdesigns.com , who are happy to send samples.

Here's the first nylon (?) set I got from Amazon, in the righthand photo:
Attachment:
image.jpeg
image.jpeg [ 68.84 KiB | Viewed 147 times ]

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000E ... UTF8&psc=1
They were only $20 a pair; perfect for experimenting. Looked nice actually. Hid dirt and were comfortable in the summer.

A year later I replaced them with $25 velour ones for the winter, and even put heated seat mats between them and the stock seats, which is invisible and worked great. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010T ... UTF8&psc=1

I really should get nice quality sheepskins, though. Those are comfortable winter and summer.

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