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Old 11-28-2011, 08:59 PM   #1
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Newbie owner with a few questions

I just bought a 1985 Jayco E350 van motorhome. Not sure of the length...25' or so (how do I find out for sure?) Never owned a camper or RV before.

Anyways, most everything is OK with a few exceptions.

First, there is a water leak somewhere in the very back corner. The closet on the back driver's side area is wet along the back of the closet. Been leaking a while apparently as the paneling is rotten. Where could this be coming from? The roof I assume. I walked up there and diddnt see anything obvious. Do the seams need to be resealed? No clue how to go about this. It looks like its just a sheet of aluminum pieced together with the sides with some sort of adhesive. Is this were it might be leaking?

Second, the 3 way dometic fridge isnt working. The auto light comes on when I press the auto button but it never gets cold and I cant hear it running. Auto light stays on never blinks. The service manual shows some troubleshooting but I have to get to the back of it somehow. I guess I will have to pull it out completely. Whats the easiest way to do this? Any common problems to look out for?

The water pump comes on but doesnt pump any water. Thats an easy fix as I have 2 water pumps sitting in the garage, although they have different fittings but I can make that work. Or maybe it just needs to be primed? I though they were self priming. The motorhome has been sitting for a few years and I dont think the water system has been in use.

I also wanted to know some capacities. Like freshwater tank, grey and black water tanks, and front and rear fuel tanks. Jayco manual does not specify. Oh, and how much does this beast weigh? What is the towing capacity?

Lastly, is the brakes on the old Ford chassis. Being that I've never driven a motorhome, I don't know what to expect. But what I experienced is rather poor braking performance. Is this to be expected with an older motorhome? Coming down a steep hill I had to stand on the brakes for it to stop, and it took quite some distance before it did so. Everywhere else it was acceptable. I forgot to look, but does this have a vacuum brake booster or hydraulic? Would upgrading to a hydro boost help out? I have access to parts at a junkyard at work.

Thanks in advance for your help. I hope to have everything up and running next season.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:14 PM   #2
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Welcome to JOF 4runneradam
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:16 PM   #3
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Hey 4runneradam - welcome to the forum! Glad you found us. We love seeing pics of some older Jaycos so if you get a chance - post some!

As far as some of the specs you were asking for - if you call Jayco and give them your VIN - they can give you all kinds of info and specs for your unit. That would be your best bet as there are not that many folks around here with a unit similar to yours.

On the leak - unfortunately they are very tricky - they can come from anywhere. Take a look at Eternabond - might work well in your situation. But - you could have some hidden issues so take a good look if you can behind those rotten areas.

On the Fridge - is there not an access door on the outside to the fridge?

Water Pump - might be able to take apart the pump chamber on the end and see if it is got some kind of gunk or is just plain stuck. They are relatively cheap so you might be better off replacing it.

Cant comment on the brakes....

If you want to get into detail on any one of these items, feel free to post a separate thread on just one issue at a time in the general or tech talk forum...you might get a better response of discussion rather than trying to get them all in one post.

Again - welcome and good luck!
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:58 AM   #4
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snip........ But what I experienced is rather poor braking performance. Is this to be expected with an older motorhome? .....snip
Welcome to the Jayco forums!

Since the MH has been sitting for a couple of years, it's anyones guess what is going on behind those brake drums, and/or rotors. I would have them inspected (drums pulled) by a certified mechanic asap, even if the previous owner said they were serviced the last time he drove it. This would be a good time to get the wheel bearings repacked as well.

Bob
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:03 PM   #6
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Possible answer on the fridge. You didnt mention what power source you were using. If using electric it will get cold but if using gas all that will do is help keep it cold. Gas wont make it any colder. Considering its age, I wonder if it uses freon and needs a fill.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:28 PM   #7
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Tried all 3. With the switch on auto and the van running, it should run on 12v. With the van off it should switch to gas. With 110v plugged in it should run off 110v. Never got cold. Never heard anything kick on. Should hear a quiet hum if the compressor is running.

No access panels or anything, with the exception of a small filler panel on the bottom thats about 2 inches tall. I'm assuming this is how you access the mounting screws. No way to get to the back.
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:08 AM   #8
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. With the van off it should switch to gas. With 110v plugged in it should run off 110v. Never got cold. Never heard anything kick on. Should hear a quiet hum if the compressor is running.

No access panels or anything, with the exception of a small filler panel on the bottom thats about 2 inches tall. I'm assuming this is how you access the mounting screws. No way to get to the back.
There is no compressor and it will take 12-18 hours to really get cold. The freezer will start to feel cool after a couple hours. It is an ammonia style refrigerator, works off of heat. The access panel is on the outside.
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:44 AM   #9
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Of all the issues you mentioned, number Uno is the water leak in the back corner. Got to get that stopped or soon you will have even more issues. The outside wall is sitting on top of the floor and if you lose the floor, eventually you lose the wall and ...... enough said!

Regarding the leak, yes start with the roof but look at all possibilities. It can be entering through the wall, bad worn out calking, any where the siding joins on the exterior, access doors, windows etc. Also, I recommend going to an RV store and buying RV calking. I know silicone from a building supply will work and is cheaper but the RV stuff is designed to withstand more flexing which an RV experiences.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:58 PM   #10
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Looks like a nice unit and well maintained. Be sure to make that lead a priority as it will cause more damage the longer you go.

Double check that fridge access. There should be a lower access door / vent on the outside that allows for airflow.
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