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"Gandalf" the 2005 Winnebago Sightseer

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Figured I'd put together a little post to help track our latest acquisition, Gandalf!


For those that know us, we've been trying out different campers/trailers for a few years now, learning as much as we can by renting. We ended up landing on purchasing a motorhome due to the Jeep's pretty limited towing capacity + our family's size (with 2 growing kids). We made sure to find a rig that is fully capable of towing the Jeep with all of her added bulk😅


Here are some specs on Gandalf:


2005 Winnebago Sightseer 30B

Ford F53 chassis (18,000lbs)

6.8L SOHC Triton V10

4R100 4-speed overdrive transmission

310 hp @ 4,250 RPM

425 ft/lbs @ 3,250 RPM


GVWR: 18,000lbs

GCVW: 26,000lbs

Length: 30'11"






We named him Gandalf after everyone's favorite wizard, Gandalf, from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.





Look at the size of that driveshaft! I believe Gandalf is sporting a Dana D80 rear end.




Here's the Jeep, trying on our storage slot for size. Our neighboring coaches dwarf Gandalf at 45ft.... massive.





Here's Gandalf on his first voyage this past weekend to the Grand Canyon National Park. We found a nice park at "Trailer Village RV Park" (where I was expecting to see Joe Dirt), but it was actually pretty nice, only 5 minutes from the south rim!





We had several maintenance items that needed to be taken care of to make the RV safe to drive on the road. I'll try to cover these in some future posts.


For now, we're very happy with our purchase, we got a heck of a deal and it was very well-maintained by the previous owner.


Here's to future adventures, exploring our gorgeous nation with @Yodamom and the kids!

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Congrats guys, I am sure you will enjoy Gandalf! Oki is just big boned, not hefty. 😂  What kind of mods did you have to do to flat tow her behind Gandalf?

Edited by shellback91
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Nice!  Remind me before the next run and I'll bring you those tire / wheel covers.   :) 

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Wow guys! That is awesome! Congratulations on your new family addition - it looks like a great home on wheels! Super excited for you...

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Congrats on the move to the RV...   Fun times ahead for sure... ;)


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Many congrats on a really nice rig!  I see some base camping jeep runs in your future!  Just let us know!

smiles, ladybug

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Congrats and welcome to the ORP RV club ;)

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Had a chance to get away with just my wife to the woods the past few days! We found a really great site just off of Schnebly Road that was extremely quiet. Not a soul around!



We had a good time hiking, took a brief trail ride out to the Schnebly Hill Vista, did some day drinking, and did some reading. Michelle got to flex her painter's muscles and I did a little photography off in the nearby woods. All in all, a pretty nice few days out of pocket.


Here are a few iPhone snaps:




We also had the chance to test out a few upgrades, as exciting as they were :) 


A new skylight over the shower, recently replaced. Our previous dome was OEM and lasted 16 years before needing replacement. We had a bit of roof leakage on the factory skylight where there were some cracks in the fixture. It rained a bit while we were out and we didn't notice any leakage, so thats a win! 


Secondly, we put our new bank of 6 Interstate 6 volt batteries to the test. Our previous battery bank was 11 years old and finally kicked the bucket during the 2021 Dirt Formal Gala.


The Interstates worked flawlessly, with a TON of power. They're wired up in series-parallel and were capable of running our furnace all night (gas/forced air set to a comfortable 70 degrees) with our usual usage of the cabin lighting, water pumps, etc. In the morning, they powered our 2,000 watt inverter to push out some delicious coffee from our coffeemaker and ran our toaster, lights, radio, etc. When checking the power reserves, we'd only gone through about 1/3 of their capacity in spite of our pretty liberal usage of the power.


Edited by 4x4tographer
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83,600 miles. We took Gandalf in for his annual emissions check. It was a miserable 3 hour wait, but the ol'boy passed with flying colors! The Ford 6.8L V10 riding strong!


In other news, we took the RV up to stay at a KOA during the 2022 Overland Expo in Flagstaff. Awesome trip!




As we were prepping the rig for travel, it was pretty hot down here in the valley. Since we don't have a 30amp connection at the house, we ran the generator to be able to run our A/C unit to cool down the RV. After about 3 hours, we shut down the genny and went to pull the RV into our home's electric via the 15amp connection overnight. Once we unplugged the 30amp plug from the socket we noticed a little problem.




The socket and the plug had melted (I think, neutral terminal). After consulting with @Stacey and Scott and @Bradywgn71 (MASSIVE THANKS YOU GUYS) , it seemed like the blades were pretty dirty, leading to a bad connection between the socket and the plug. This led to some arcing of the current, which led to heat, which lead to some melty-melty action.


The inside of the junction box that houses the 30amp socket that is fed by the generator. Note the melted wire nut and heat damage to the neutral wire (white/tan).




The backside of the socket. More scored wiring.




We overnighted some replacement materials via Amazon and did a quick replacement the morning before we were supposed to leave. We replaced plug, cabling, and the socket.


Ripped all the old crap out, stripped and cleaned up the wiring.



Wiring done. @Stacey and Scott recommended I schmear some dielectric grease up into the wire nuts to prevent water and corrosion from setting it. @Bradywgn71 recommended replacing the entire junction box with a bus bar since they are more secure and more resistant to vibration than wire nuts. 


Both are on my honey-do list. :) 




After the install, we ran the generator for about 5-6 hours as we finished stocking the kitchen and made the drive up to Flagstaff. Wiring and the socket/plug never overheated and it all seems A-OK.

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