1978 Royale Update and Restoration

Mike_H

Member
Oct 3, 2019
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Grand Rapids, MI
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Went through the steering lately. I followed the Mueller inspection guide. Started out with the intermediate shaft. The slip section was locked up solid. My seal between the two pieces had disintegrated and allowed water into the slip fit and eventually the plastic coating failed. I used a torch and eventually got the nasty hard grease and rust to let loose. The shaft itself had some pitting at the top but was in good shape overall.

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I called a couple driveshaft places and no one could re-coat the blue stuff. So, I placed an order for a new one from one of the specialty houses. I waited for about 6 weeks and got nothing, nor could I get anyone to pin down a date in which they WOULD get me something. So, I took matters into my own hands. My dad owns a specialty tooling shop. We talked about the struggles I was having getting the part, and a little lightbulb went off above his head. He asked aloud...I wonder if hardchrome would work? We decided to try it. I sent it out for hardchrome and had it back a week later. Thankfully, I had the foresight to take some measurements of the shaft in a couple places where the plastic was still attached. So, I knew what kind of clearances we needed for the slip fit. He had one of his guys grind the OD in. I'm happy to report that it fits like a glove. The bonus is that we did about a 0.030" thick coating of chrome, so a LOT of the pitting is now filled in as well.

This is what it looks like after hard chrome, grinding, and fitting...

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I also tore apart the CV and the U-joint, cleaned them up and added new grease. Put a couple new boots on. The Original CV boot is still available from Cinnabar. I used a driveshaft slip joint boot for the slip joint. Not going to recommend that though, as the end that fits the "sleeve" portion fits well, but the other end is too big. It will work, for now, but I'd like to find something better.

Anyway, here is the intermediate shaft, all nice and prettied up.

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I also replaced the steering column lower bearing and the passenger side inner TRE. Along with making sure my steering gear is centered, those fixes made a WORLD of difference in my steering. Its about 1000% times better than before. Its not perfect yet, but I have some other things to figure out first (like ride height and alignment).
 

Matt Colie

Active member
Oct 25, 2019
379
93
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South East Michigan near DTW
Mike,
Did you ask if Alex Ferra is still going the recoat on those slip shafts? He used to do a nice job of that.
I like the single boot as opposed to the two separate pieces. You should convey that part number to Bdub to put it in the parts guide.
Matt
 
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Christo

Administrator
Staff member
Oct 4, 2019
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Weymouth, MA
Mike,
Did you ask if Alex Ferra is still going the recoat on those slip shafts? He used to do a nice job of that.
I like the single boot as opposed to the two separate pieces. You should convey that part number to Bdub to put it in the parts guide.
Matt
I'll bet it's two boots with the larger one cut cleanly. Dorman 614-001 and Duralast FA8082
 

Mike_H

Member
Oct 3, 2019
123
23
18
42
Grand Rapids, MI
mikehiler.wixsite.com
Mike,
Did you ask if Alex Ferra is still going the recoat on those slip shafts? He used to do a nice job of that.
I like the single boot as opposed to the two separate pieces. You should convey that part number to Bdub to put it in the parts guide.
Matt
I'll bet it's two boots with the larger one cut cleanly. Dorman 614-001 and Duralast FA8082
It's two pieces, neither of which are cut. The CV boot is the original GM part number from cinnabar. The lower boot is a Spicer slip joint boot for an 1 3/8" drive shaft. I'm not sure it's going to stay. The CV boot eclipses the end, but through some measurement confusion, the upper ID is too big. It's not clamped. I'm hoping for the CV boot to shield the water for entering. Not sure that will work though, due to the capillary action of water
 

Mike_H

Member
Oct 3, 2019
123
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Grand Rapids, MI
mikehiler.wixsite.com
Another Update, unfortunately, this one isn't as good as my last couple. Those of you who follow along on Facebook know that this week is our first real trip with our motorhome (on its one year anniversary with us, no less. Dumb CoronaVirus). Anyway, I didn't fill the water tank, because we're "camping" at my Sister in Laws house. Figured I could just hook up a hose from their house to the city water supply.

Anyway, I tried that...and Immediately got a MASSIVE leak from the water heater. After some troubleshooting, standing on my head, I found it. A big crack, originating from the vicinity of the 120V heating element. The tank is split.

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This is a real bummer. From what the PO told me, he installed it at the beginning of summer, 2019...so that means I probably screwed up some how winterizing it. I KNOW I opened the petcock and didn't get any water and he (the PO) told me it was winterized, so I'm not really sure what or how it happened. Regardless, it definitely does not hold water now. After looking at the plumbing job, it needed some attention anyway...no shutoff to the heater, wires everywhere, loose prop boards supporting different pieces of the install. Plain sloppy work. Just would have been nice to fix the sloppy work and not have to replace the appliance.

Looking into different options now. Just replace with the same model and type, or go tankless.
 
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Mike_H

Member
Oct 3, 2019
123
23
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42
Grand Rapids, MI
mikehiler.wixsite.com
Another quick update. My LP tank is at a Propane shop, having its valve replaced. We've been noticing a foul smell off and on since we turned it on. I suspected a propane leak...my wife suspected a critter. Anyway, I had some time today sitting around at my In-laws so I decided to tear into it. Disappointed I had to remove the access door to get the tank out, but whatever. I need a couple projects to keep me busy instead of just sitting around on my butt.

Happy to report that there are no critter remains in the compartment. However, the packing is leaking when the valve is full open. Explains the smell. The shop will be replacing the valve and I'm taking the opportunity to have them replace the level sender too. It hasn't worked since we got it. I checked the wiring and I get a 12V signal when the level check momentary contact is pressed and I didn't get any resistance while ohm'ing out the sensor. Once I get it back tomorrow, I'll scuff and paint the tank before slamming it back together. Nice little project while I'm on vacation, hiding from the 'Rona!
 
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LarryW

Active member
Oct 14, 2019
107
53
28
Menomonie, WI.
For the slip shaft boot, about 12ys ago i was faced with boot issues on the slip shaft. After reading a reference to a 4X4 shock boot being used by somebody, and looking at a picture of the whole shaft in a Caspro catalog, I went to NAPA where I opened every box that had a shock boot and found one that fit almost perfect. The brand name is "Strut Mate". NAPA part # 63975 for $15.95. It covers the CV joint clear down to the zirk on the lower part of the shaft. The upper end was a tight fit and is held in place with the zip tie supplied with the boot. The zip tie however did not work well, so I replaced it with a narrow hose clamp, Lower part was just a little big so I fit the split in the boot around the zirk and put a zip tie on either side of the zirk, keeping it from sliding either up or down, but still leaving the zirk out for greasing. Been using it that way for 12+ years now with no issues. JWID
 
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Mike_H

Member
Oct 3, 2019
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Grand Rapids, MI
mikehiler.wixsite.com
I started working on house systems this week. Got my water tank replaced. Added a bypass where there was not one before. That project is about complete. Just need to hook up electrical and check for leaks.

Also started working on the heater. I "tested" it before we left for our last trip and it fired up ok. Flame was a bit yellow, but figured it was due to not having run for a while. Well, I'm glad that the safeties are in working order...I ran it to heat the coach and it ran for a while, then must have hit the limit switch. The blower fan never shut down, but the flame wouldn't ignite again. Not really knowing what to expect, I pulled the furnace out and took the guts out of the case. Boy howdy...am I glad I did. I had a HUGE mud dauber nest in the intake fan. Big enough that it bridged the motor to the fan OD. I'm surprised it ran at all...

First pic...This is when I started wondering, "what the hell?"

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Then I took the intake fan off to clean this bugger out. Eww...gross

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Once I found that, I decided the whole thing has to come apart. The burner was almost completely plugged, and the combustion chamber had a lot of debris in it. The burner is cast on this model furnace (Suburban NT-30-M) and NLA. I was able to use a thin coping saw blade to pull the rust and dirt out of the slots. Those are now cleaned up and I'm working on de-scaling the few rusty pieces of sheet metal that form the blower housing. Where the insect nest was is really gross.

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Finally, I was able to find all the gaskets that I need to seal this thing back up. All told, I'll have less than 100 bucks into the rebuild, even if I have to replace the fan switch.

Yet again, I wonder..."Did I pay too much for this rig?" It seems EVERY system will need some sort of troubleshooting and attention, even though it had been used right until we bought it. BUT...each time I'm in someone else's rig, I'm reminded of why these coaches are so great. The build quality, even with the issues I'm having, is second to none.
 
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