How Much Trouble Are They? - Luxury Coach Lifestyles
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:11 AM   #1
D. Wolfe
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1
Default How Much Trouble Are They?

We are considering purchasing a 1987 38' coach, DD 8V92 engine and 4-speed Allison. I've read in several MH forums that 'you have to expect things to break on something that old'. But how much trouble are they, really? Do you have problems every trip or once-in-awhile? Are the problems fairly minor or major? I'm not expecting THE answer, just want to hear your experiences. I'm fairly mechanically inclined, but I don't want to get in over my head.


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Old 03-29-2008, 06:13 AM   #2
Rich Farr
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 20


We have a 1979 38 1/2 foot with 6V92DD and Allison 5 speed.
It is very well made and we have seen a few approaching 500K miles. It is wise to keep them under roof and on cement to avoid rust on undercarriage. Ours has 105K and we have had no major problems - just small stuff like awning springs, heaters, light bulbs, etc. We did have to change our power converter (battery charger) and our air leveling system is NWR. I change my own oil, filters, etc. We especially love the fact that nothing is computerized - so it makes things more friendly for the do-it-yourselfer. One thing we would love about a 1987 is the 102" wide. If it has tag axle, that will give you better braking, but you still need to slow down descending hills. Tag axle also requires class B driver's license (in this state). The 8V92 has more power (probably a 475HP) Ours is 285HP and a little anemic in the mountains - but for 10+MPG we can live with it. We cruise very comfortably at freeway speeds. As you can see, we like to talk Newell. Let us know if you would like additional conversation. Thanks.

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Old 03-29-2008, 06:15 AM   #3
John Clark
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 16

I have owned Newells for the past 12 years. I suggest you stop by the factory to see how they are built, it is truly amazing the amount of steel they put into the unit. Unless your unit has over a quarter million miles on it, you should be ok engine and drive train wise ( I have 250,000 miles on my 87 and have only had to replace the starter (Alaska '00)

You can expect to work on the air ride system due to the number of valves and wires, but if you keep the connections clean and use it on a regular basis the cost will be minimal. Newells are kind of like helicopters, the more you fly them, the less things leak and break. If something does go wrong, stop and think (KISS),I have wasted more money replacing things that were not broken than I care to think about. Always check your grounds and fuses first, and be sure to give the item a 'little' love tap, before replacing it. One of Newells major strengths is the use of laminates inside, they are easy to clean and last forever. We have found that wood just doesn't hold up to long time use. I also like the metal exterior and Imron paint. Compare an '87 Newell exterior to an 87 fibreglass counterpart (outdoor parking) and you can definitely see the difference.
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:34 AM   #4
Rich Farr
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 20

A 1987 Newell is an awesome coach (one of my favorites)and (with reasonable maintenance) it should last several hundred thousand miles without major system problems.
It is probably 102" wide as opposed to older 96" wide - big nice difference.
The 8V92 is a very good engine and is not hard to get service on Detroit Diesels. It is most likly 475HP with turbo. FYI - all detroit 2 cycle diesels use oil - so don't be alarmed.
We own a 1979 with 6V92DD and 5 speed Allison transmission. It is adequately powered, but definitely not an 8V92 turbo.
It gets good mileage however, so we can live with it.
If the 1987 has a tag axle, you will have better braking, but you still need to keep speed down and use jake brake when going down hills/grades. The tag axle also requires a class B driver's license in this state. Our coach is still running on original engine and transmission with 105K total miles. The worst problems we have had so far have been the heaters and power converter. All the electric heaters had to be replaced and the gas heaters currently need to be serviced. This is really minor stuff however, and you can do most yourself. You will need to become familiar with all the Newell systems - we labeled everything since there was no owners manual for 1979. As you can see, we like to talk abvout Newells. Send us an email if you care for more rhetoric.

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