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Open Roads Forum  >  Class C Motorhomes  >  B+

 > 1987 Mallard sprint 20 ft

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stoner_14

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Posted: 07/18/20 06:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Got a few questions hopefully members of the group can provide info on. I currently have a 2000 Pleasureway on a Dodge Ram van 3500 frame and my wife and I are finding it a little tight as we now take our Granddaugther with us on camp outs. While we are not activtely looking to up grade, a RV just outside our area has caught our attention. It is a 1987 Mallard Sprint on a chev G30 frame. It is a is a 20 footer and from the pictures provided looks bigger that the pleasureway inside. It is similar to a Class B in that there is no over the cab bunk (as we did not want one) but does have a dinnette and a settete that I am assuming folds out to a bed in the rear. I know it is an older model, but I am ok with that if the condition is good. A couple of issues that I have questions on are asfollows: It is has the 350 engine with a Crab as opposed to fuel injection. I would rather fuel Injection, but am OK with a carb, any one have comments on a crab verses Fuel Injection on this engine. Second is that it does not have AC in the rear. I can get a AC unit as someone close by just parted out a trailer and I have read and seen on you tube members putting in AC units in RVs that did not have them. I am pretty handy so it should not be any issues. In another post someone mentioned when they took down the roof vent as that is where they cut the hole, in their RV to put in an AC, there was a wire already in place from the factory for an AC upgrade. Last is AC in the cab, ower has not used it so it curre, tly does not work. I can do a rechargebut not sure if this might be the only issue with it. Anyone have info/comments on AC on a Chevy 350 engine or similiar commnets/advice.

Also looking for anyone who may have this make and model and there thoughts, good and bad on the Rv

Sorry, but I cant add any pictures to my post

Thanks to everyone,
Stay safe, stay healthy

Craig From the Rock, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

jdc1

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Posted: 07/18/20 09:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Smallish motor, 3 speed trans.

opnspaces

San Diego Ca

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Posted: 07/18/20 09:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just my opinion, but you couldn't pay me to take an old carbureted motorhome.

The dash AC not working, yes it could just need a charge. But it could also be a bad compressor and the entire system is full of metal shavings meaning a complete replacement of all components.

As far as adding an AC, yes they go straight through a standard size 14" vent opening. If there is no AC on the roof then yes you might get lucky and the wires are already there under the trim. But if there is already one AC on the roof I find it highly unlikely that the factory left the wires for a second AC in a 20ft motorhome.

As far as the brand. At that age the model and brand is not important. Your focus should be on inspecting for leaks. Touch and poke and prod and step on every inch of the floor. Any soft spots and walk away.

Look in the overhead cabinets and into all the corners for staining or other signs of leaks. Inspect the roof for signs that the owner has been keeping up on repairing any cracks in the caulking.
If any signs of leaks I would walk away.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 07/18/20 10:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Inspect closely roof, underneath, inside, drive train. It’s 34 years old.


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Posted: 07/18/20 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A 1987 on a G30 frame would have used R-12 (Freon-12) refrigerant. That has been banned in North America since 1996 and world wide since 2010. If a retrofit has not been done, it requires a system flush and a new filter/dryer or accumulator, and may also involve the installation of new seals and/or hoses made of materials compatible with the refrigerant being installed. If a retrofit was done, it probably used R-134a -- which is also being phased out. It can be purchased but there are many places that have purchase restrictions.

There is probably more than a 'recharge' going to be needed.

That year also most likely had a 16.5" tire standard. That size can be found but probably will have to be special ordered.


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Posted: 07/18/20 11:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Without regard to the MH part of the chassis and how well that all works, I have a hard time believing that a 33 year old Chevy is in better mechanical condition than what you have unless yours is in need of work. You’re buying something unknown.
Carb vs efi? 87 should have been TBI afaik. First year of it. So it’s likely been swapped for a carb. Not necessarily bad, but depends what’s on it For a carb and the ignition would also be swapped for older vac advance.
I have a carbed Vortec Chevy with an older ignition and it runs great, but requires attention and knowledge.

Basically you’re buying an antique vehicle. IMO that and carefree RV ing don’t go together unless it’s very well sorted out and documented.
And it’s either a 3 speed auto which in itself is simple and reliable but of unknown history. I don’t think 87 1 tons got the 700r4 but while it’s an OD trans, it’s inherently worse than the old TH 350/400 trans.
I’d pass unless you’re open for a potential serious project. You said your handy, but don’t sound like a mechanic knowledgeable about these vehicles.


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Posted: 07/18/20 11:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I do think they are 16s not 16.5s that year. Slight bonus but it would still be a hard no for me unless it was perfectly sorted or free.
Even free isn’t good sometimes with RVs based on the cost of disposal

charlessfolly

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Posted: 07/21/20 07:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Being a Newfy, l'm sure you're good at fixing things. The Sprint you've been offered is a rare bird but it's components are all standard equipment both drive train and body. The g30 is long-lived and parts are available. I let Canadian Tire do some fixing and they get my parts. The camper is fiberglass front,sides and back but the problem is the roof. All appliances are replacable if need be.
As you might have guessed, I own one-the same model but 1990. It has tbi and the 3 speed tranny. I bought it two years ago and have spent a lot of time fixing it. It gets 14 mpg at best and likes to run at 90 kph or less (55 mph). The small size means it has more hp/torque than most older rv's and it's comfortable in town

charlessfolly

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Posted: 07/22/20 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just reread my reply- did not intend a slight about Newfoundlander,sorry if it came out that way.
I really like my Sprint, it took some work but is now a great all purpose, all weather rv. We just got back from camping up a logging road campsite where a larger unit would not fit, the narrower body lets us go where pickups with campers go.
I've redone the roof with aluminum panel and redone the interior to a permanent corner bed and a couch instead of the dinette. It feels quite spacious compared to other larger class c's we've had. The fridge is lowered and a cubic mini woodstove on top of it keeps us comfy in the winter.
I got rid of the air conditioner on the roof. 120 volts means hookups which means rv parks. Not our thing. Using a portable a/c might be an answer if you must have one. We do have a Maxxair roof vent which we use alot, even when driving in the hot weather. It's quite adequate for our needs.
I thought this unit had a carb when we bought it but it has early fuel injection. Gm was slow to changeover to tbi in its motorhomes, I think 1989 was the first year for them. Each type has pros and cons. Carb is cheap replacement with factory presets if it's a problem. Fuel injection is more complicated. It does start and run well. Cruise control is excellent as it never needs to downshift out of third gear.
Your Pleasureway is a higher quality build with a newer design drivetrain. You would be giving up some to gain that space. We found class b's just a bit too small and that a slightly wider body made all the difference.

PatJ

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Posted: 07/27/20 06:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My two prior RVs were both small block carbureted Chevy 350s. Countless good memories over 25 years before purchasing my current rig. They do not have much power but fortunately they usually have good gearing (4.10 or 4.56.) It will almost certainly have the TH400 trans which is a strong reliable 3 speed. That will keep you at about 55 to 60 mph max, but it will probably do 55 very well if it is in good shape and well tuned up.

Even if the dash air worked you probably wouldn't use it because it would take about 15% of your available horsepower to run that old A12 compressor. Set up a generator on the bumper so you can run roof air going down the road, that's what we did.

Any old RV is a commitment, heck any RV is a commitment, but old ones in particular. But they can be very affordable and there is no reason they can not be just as reliable as anything else if they are in good condition and well cared for. It comes down to your skill set, your work area/shop/tools, and the condition of your specific unit. Best of luck!


Patrick

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