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Old 08-16-2012, 12:17 PM   #1
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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What we go through to keep our Classic motorhomes running.

As some of you are aware I have been dismantling and selling some parts off of a 345 that we bought via eBay. The 345 was in Oklahoma and we live in Richmond Kentucky so we had to figure out a way to get a broken down 345 hauled 800+ miles. In the past I had used a site called
Yesterday's Tractor Co. - Hauling Ads to find someone to haul for me and Iíve also hauled for people through that site. So I posted an add stating we needed a 34í motorhome hauled from OK to KY. We got lucky and someone replied said they could do it for $1000 and we accepted. The plan was to meet the trucker at the site, load the 345 and be on our way. Well, things didnít exactly work out according to plan

The good news was the (wildcat) trucker we hired, Klint Mowrer was fantastic to work with. He wasnít your typical truck driver who stood by the way side while the owner gets the vehicle ready to load. Klint jumped right in there with me to get it loaded. Without his help I would never have gotten the job done.

This whole mess started because I was browsing eBay one evening and noticed a 345 up for Auction in Oklahoma. Hmm, only $2000, no bids and only two days left, just think of all the useful parts to be had. Reading the auction we found out why there were no bids. The motorhome wasnít running, was missing all of the front sheet metal and was buried in the woods. Wow, just the sort of project that I always seem to find

We contacted the sellers and eventually did a buy-it now for the $2000 starting price. It was then up to me to figure out a way to get it home. I made contact with Klint via YTMag and we agreed on a date to meet and get it loaded.

The fateful day arrived and we arrived at the site about 8:30 am and started scoping out the situation. In order to get to the 345 you had to walk up a twisty S shaped rutted dirt road that led back into the woods. Needless to say once I actually saw the motorhome and where it was sitting I started to have serious doubts about achieving the goal of getting it back to KY. I knew from talking to the sellers that ALL of the tires were flat and dry rotted with the exception of the two front tires which held air and one tag wheel tire which also had air in it. The others were in really bad shape. So in my pre-planning for the trip I removed a dually wheel from each side of our 310 and also brought the 310 spare with me. That gave me a total of six wheels that would hold air.

The tires were indeed as bad as the said they were, unfortunately the ones that did hold air were currently flat. I had brought a small compressor with me but neglected to bring a long enough extension cord. So, even the good tires had to be removed, carried over to the compressor and filled with air. This is where the worst part of the whole trip occurred for me. In order to get the wheels off I had to crawl under the motorhome to set the bottle jack. Iím sure you all know the routine, crawl under, set the jack, pump it up, set the jack stand, crawl back out, remove the wheel, crawl back under, raise the jack, remove the jack stand, lower the jack, move the jack stand to get the tag, and on and on. Unfortunately I didnít know at first that where I laid my red floor mat was right on top of a tick bed. As I was crawling out from under the motorhome after setting the jack stand the first time I saw things crawling around on the mat. It freaked me out when I realized they were ticks, then I realized they were all over me I brushed off as many as I could and shook the mat off but no matter what I HAD to crawl back under there to move the jack to get at the tag axle. So I ended up laying on that bed of ticks three separate times. I came away from there with no less than 75 tick bites and boy did they itch, for several weeks they itched. After getting to the motel that night I threw away the closes I was wearing. I didnít even want to think about trying get them cleaned.

Once we got the good wheels on the motorhome we still had the problem of getting the motorhome out of the woods on onto the road. At this point we used my F350 diesel dually to pull the motorhome backwards down the driveway and out onto the road. As we were getting ready to do this the seller indicated that he thought the brakes were frozen. He thought that because when he had the 345 moved from one part of the property to the other via bull dozer the rear wheels wouldnít turn. Fortunately when I got up into the driverís seat I found that the parking brake was set. Once I released it, guess what, the wheels rolled

It turned out that it wasnít too difficult getting the motorhome onto the road, just had to take it slow. The brakes actually did work on the 345, just had to apply a lot of pressure. Same for the steering, took a lot of effort but I could steer.

Once it was out on the road the real fun began. The angle of the ramps on the trailer was too steep so we had to build wood ramps to decrease the angle of approach. Klint was a huge help here because he carries all sorts of wood planking and blocks with him. He gets into a lot of odd loads (he did say this was the oddest!) so he keeps this sort of stuff with him all the time. He also went out and bought a snatch-block before he arrived knowing that we would need one to get the motorhome up on the trailer.

As you can see from the pictures the approach angle was really bad and even with all of the planking the hitch on the back of the motorhome still hit his ramp, digging in. The loading process involved using my truck set at a 90 degree angle off to the side pulling on a long cable rigged through the snatch block located at the front of the trailer. What we ended up doing was pulling the 345 up the ramp as far as it would go until the hitch dug into the ramp. We would then jack the back of the 345 up a little and give it a jerk with the F350 to pull it until it fell of the jack. It moved about 6Ē at a time using this method. Not the most elegant way to do it but we figured a $50 jack (if it broke, which it didnít) was worth the cost considering we didnít have a whole lot of other options. Oh yeah, keep in mind the heat index is 110!

We repeated this process until the motorhome was fully up onto the trailer. We started at 8:30 am finally pulled away from the driveway at 8:00 pm that night. We were both totally exhausted and I was itching like crazy from the tick bites. I didnít realize how many and how bad they were until I got to the motel that night and looked in a mirror. All around my belt line, on my stomach, arms and legs I had tick bites. Thank god I donít wear boxers

The rest of the trip home was a piece of cake as was the unloading process. Our driveway has a nice dip in it so pulling it off the trailer with our backhoe was easy.

Anyway, this is how we ended up owning a 345 that wasnít worth fixing up but did have a treasure trove of parts on it.

Brad

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1974 20' Argosy Motor Home
1974 31' Excella trailer (parting out, as of 4/1/2015 I have wheels, brake drums, windows & holding tanks left to sell)
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:19 PM   #2
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:43 PM   #3
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Good documentation of the move.

You should fix it and put it back on the road.

Dave
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:01 PM   #4
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WOW! Now that is dedication.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
Good documentation of the move.

You should fix it and put it back on the road.

Dave
Believe me we looked at that option when we first got it but after reading other posts as to what it costs to have work like that done the cost would have far exceeded the value of the motorhome

There are cast aluminum structural pieces that are broken, whole sections of the body missing, etc. The odds of being able to find all the pieces needed are pretty slim. And worst of all it was totally infested with rats and mice. There must have been 200 lbs of droppings scattered in and behind everything Plus a dead mouse or two.

As it is we were able to supply other owners with various parts to keep their mh in better shape.

Brad
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:29 PM   #6
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wow
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Old 08-16-2012, 03:40 PM   #7
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Great job, I don't believe I could have done it. That truck driver is exceptional most would not have done what he was willing to do.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:50 PM   #8
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Great job, I don't believe I could have done it. That truck driver is exceptional most would not have done what he was willing to do.
Klint was definitely the difference between getting it on the trailer and leaving it in Oklahoma. He recieved a $200 tip but he didn't know that was coming until he arrived in Kentucky, long after the hard part was done.

Brad
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:54 AM   #9
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Brad, you earned every dollar you make on the parts. I appreciate your efforts, which allowed me to get a few no longer available parts from you!
Thanks!
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:55 PM   #10
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Parts

Brad, I'm Sorry to hear you had all that trouble. I used to to transport vintage cars all over the US and I've got some story's too. If you are really gonna part with some parts I will be looking for a few as soon as I land this 85 345. I'll bring my shopping cart and we'll go from there. I'll call or you can email me...OK
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by tlcdog View Post
Brad, I'm Sorry to hear you had all that trouble. I used to to transport vintage cars all over the US and I've got some story's too. If you are really gonna part with some parts I will be looking for a few as soon as I land this 85 345. I'll bring my shopping cart and we'll go from there. I'll call or you can email me...OK
If you want parts you better hurry, there aren't a whole lot of parts left

There is really only one person to blame for any trouble I had bringing the 345 from Oklahoma to Kentucky and that's me. No one forced me to decide to buy it and once the commitment was made then I had to do it.

If I hadn't had to deal with the tick bites it really wouldn't have been that bad of a trip, a lot of work maybe but work never hurt anyone. However, driving 700 or so miles the next day when I was itching so bad didn't make for an enjoyable trip.

Brad
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