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Old 01-30-2014, 04:22 AM   #1
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Default 1986 Dodge Ram FALCON 318 engine questions

Hi,

I am new to the group and am hoping to get some help in buying a 1986 Dodge Falcon with a 318 engine and 2.8KW generator. The interior is fine with a roof a/c. The hot water heater and plumbing are good but the toilet does not hold water in the bowl. I am told there is a rubber seal that needs to be replaced to hold the water in the bowl.
There is an issue with the generator where it does not turn over and there is an antifreeze leak along with somme exhaust smoke.

I can get it for $2500 Do you think its worth it?

Thans
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1986 Dodge Ram FALCON 318 engine questions

Get a mechanic to look it over. None of us want to / like to / can afford to / etc. spend money on a rig we might not buy but it might save you from a costly mistake.

Generator repairs can be expensive.
The toilet fix could be easy but depends if parts are still available.
Is the coolant leak a hose or the radiator?
Exhaust smoke ........... someone else can answer that.
Any rust?
How are the brakes, ball joints, shocks, tires?

I'm not trying to discourage you - its just that repairs can get expensive quickly.
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Old 01-30-2014, 05:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1986 Dodge Ram FALCON 318 engine questions

Plan on spending some money (500-1000) changing ALL fluids, belts and hoses, including fuel lines, vacuum lines, etc. Smoke could be valve guides or rings. A mechanic can test and tell you.
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Old 01-31-2014, 04:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1986 Dodge Ram FALCON 318 engine questions

Thanks for the info. I am planning on seeing it this Sunday with a mechanic so I can get a better idea of what could be wrong. I am hoping I may be able to bring him down to $2200 since we started at $3000 and went to $2500 on the phone.

I saw someone advertising they are a motor home tech on craigslist. I will ask him if he works on generators. He told me the exhaust smoke is because its a new valve cover gasket. My mechanic will be able to tell me about the shocks, carb, etc.

I am hoping to find some info about the motorhoming part of the van. What are common issues with camper vans (gen, a/c, propane, ignitors for stove). This will be my 1st attempt at buying a camper van and need to know what to look for. He said he winterized it with anti freeze?

Any pointers to look for when I see it for the 1st time on Sunday would be great.

The camper van is very unique in the sense of the amount of sleeping space available. I have pics of the interior where it shows a bed in the rear, a jack knife in the middle and another pullout about the driver. With a toilet right next to the jack knife where you can shower also.
I have never seen a self contained camper van with so much sleeping space. Too bad this one only has the stove top and not the over option like I saw on Ebay recently.

What about the tanks (fresh, grey and black) Anything I should look out for? How about the heater?
Thanks for all the help.

Charles
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1986 Dodge Ram FALCON 318 engine questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by livedj1
I am hoping to find some info about the motorhoming part of the van. What are common issues with camper vans (gen, a/c, propane, ignitors for stove).
The generator - main cause of problems is lack of use. The carb gets gummed up and is described as not serviceable on some generators. Some folks have managed to clean the carb using a product like SeaFoam. Next would be corroded wires. Then low oil level.

The A/C can also seize from lack of use if in a salty environment. It can also develop a leak just because it is old. It's hard / (impossible?) to tell if it is blowing cold air in winter.

Propane tanks can rust out from age. There's an odorant / oil in propane that can build up over time and cause blockages. The propane lines will have air in them if the system is unused. It's a good idea to light the stove first before trying the water heater or fridge on propane. Lighting the stove first allows you to purge the excess air from the propane lines.

Ignitor for stove top - my old stove top doesn't have an ignitor. I just use a BBQ type lighter. I've had stove tops with an ignitor and one problem that can arise is that the insulation on the ignitor wire can shrink or crack from the heat. Then it can short out on the metal of the stove top and not produce a spark.

Fridge - can develop a leak. An ammonia smell is a clue that there is a leak in an absorption type fridge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by livedj1
He said he winterized it with anti freeze?
RV / Plumbing antifreeze is non toxic. It is often referred to as the pink stuff. The idea is to replace any water in the plumbing sytem with RV antifreeze. Water expands when it freezes and can cause pipes etc. to burst. RV antifreeze can freeze in really cold environments but it doesn't expand. Usually you drain the water heater and then bypass it instead of filling it with RV antifreeze as it would take 6 gallons to fill it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by livedj1
Any pointers to look for when I see it for the 1st time on Sunday would be great.
Rust would make me think twice about buying anything.
Batteries - How old are they? How many does it have?
Age of tires. Michelin has this in their RV tire brochure:

Quote:
.....it is recommended to have RV/Motorhome tires, including spare tires, inspected regularly by a qualified tire specialist, such as a tire dealer, who will assess the tireís suitability for continued service. Tires that have been in use for 5 years or more should continue to be inspected by a specialist at least annually.
Quote:
While most tires will need replacement before they achieve 10 years, it is recommended that any tires in service 10 years or more from the date of manufacture, including spare tires, be replaced with new tires as a simple precaution even if such tires appear serviceable and even if they have not reached the legal wear limit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by livedj1
Too bad this one only has the stove top and not the oven option like I saw on Ebay recently.
Ovens are rare in B vans. I had a small Class C with an oven and it came in handy for toasting bagels

Quote:
Originally Posted by livedj1
What about the tanks (fresh, grey and black) Anything I should look out for? How about the heater?
Check tanks for leaks. The water heater can fail from internal rust or if water has frozen in it causing it to deform and crack. I don't recall seeing many complaints online about furnaces except the occasional thermostat problem.

Make sure the unit has a propane detector, a carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher. They need to be replaced periodically.

Appliances etc. fail over time and have to be replaced. I had to replace the water heater in my '97 van.
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1986 Dodge Ram FALCON 318 engine questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by livedj1
saw someone advertising they are a motor home tech on craigslist. I will ask him if he works on generators. He told me the exhaust smoke is because its a new valve cover gasket. My mechanic will be able to tell me about the shocks, carb, etc.
If the exhaust is coming from the tailpipe, it is a internal engine problem, not a new valve cover gasket. If is is coming from outside the engine it may be oil burning off the exhaust manifold which will burn off without damage and is common when changing valve cover gaskets.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1986 Dodge Ram FALCON 318 engine questions

The generator may not turn over because of a bad starter. This can easily happen if the genny is not run often and the carb gums up and the starter is operated too long trying to start it and overheats. A simple voltage test while activating the starter will confirm or not a bad starter. BTW, if it is, plan on $200+ for a new starter plus if the genny is mounted below to floor, much labor. Same if it is a carb.

BTW, RE my previous post about the engine. I used to be a mechanic in a Dodge dealership. If the engine needs valve guides unless the smoke is severe, I would not worry about it, just keep the oil level up. If it is a ring stuck, maybe some oil treatment may fix it. If it is more serious that either of these, I would pass on it.
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1986 Dodge Ram FALCON 318 engine questions

Thanks for all the info George. I went to see the camper van with a mechanic and he said the engine is fine and the van is worth $2500. I put a deposit and should get it in the next few weeks.

I will be asking for help again when I get it home.
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