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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 5th, 2017, 2:09 pm 
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Posts: 72
Following this thread, I want to second all that has been said about the advantages described about Chinook's in genera. They certainly apply to our 2004 Premier. We were lucky enough to find one with beautiful cherry woodwork that is FAR superior to what we have seen in most other "press-baord" rig construction. Everything said about the molded seamless fiberglass in terms of strength, durability, keeping things dry, and minimal rattles (and we do a fair amount of dirt roads into remote campsites) is true. And for my wife and I, the layout feels like we have died and gone to heaven (50+ years of tent prior tent camping will do that!).

Regarding layout of bed in dinette--it works well for us...between Queen and King (California?) size. As posted elsewhere in the forum (can't recall where at the moment), we put REI self-inflating pads down to sleep on. They store daytime behind the couch. For ease of making and unmaking the bed, we use a double sleeping bag instead of traditional sheets. Going on five years, six + weeks at a time this way and still find it very comfortable. Can't say that was the case when sleeping on just the couch and dinette cushions by themselves. As for sleeping on jackknife couch by itself: Have done that some when traveling alone...not very comfortable for this old man!
David


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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 5th, 2017, 3:08 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
Posts: 526
Location: Northern NJ
M Spec wrote:
In my last post I forgot to ask 2 questions. In the dinette version, when made into a bed, can someone other than a child sleep there? Also, when the sofa is made into bed what size is it? Sorry... I have never been in one when the bed are down. Thanks.

Although you can do the dinette by itself, it's only about 68x36. The sofa starts at ~72x32 (including the space taken up by the backrest) and drops / expands to 72x48.

The real big Chinook front bed comes when you combine the sofa and the dinette together and sleep sideways. (sorry, best photo I could find quickly)
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Although this diagram says Queen bed, Chinook's later ads claimed 72" x 84", which as David said, is a California King. (okay, the dinette section isn't the full 72" wide but the sofa section is)
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Most people cover the jigsaw puzzle of cushions with an inflatable or foam mattress that they roll up and store behind the sofa back during the day.

Kevin (posting from an ipad mini)

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floor, tin ceiling, custom lighting


Last edited by kdarling on April 7th, 2017, 11:06 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 6th, 2017, 5:22 am 
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Joined: March 27th, 2017, 8:41 am
Posts: 26
WOW what great information, photos and everything. Thanks everyone! We have four small dogs, two Jack Russell ish and two terriers a little smaller (all dog pound dogs) that sleep with us (yeah I know) and we all manage ok in a queen size bed. So it looks like this situation should be fine. I almost drove 400 miles to see a club chair style but you guys "saved" me from that effort...Thanks. So a 2000 (any particular year I do or do not want?) or above dinette configuration it is. Just an FYI I live in Kansas City, any of you pass this way let me know...I owe you a beer :lol: The search continues.


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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 6th, 2017, 9:01 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1828
Location: 1999 Concourse
At this point in time (when they are all "old" to some degree), I'd say condition trumps all (at least IMO). I know it sounds backwards, but I'm heavily into cosmetics when shopping for something older. I know people say "it's just cosmetics," but I find those a lot more onerous/expensive/time-consuming to repair (or have repaired) than something mechanical. And also, as it turns out (side bonus), I have rarely found vehicles that are in great shape cosmetically but neglected mechanically.

For myself, I had these criteria (yours will be different but just to give you an idea):

1) 1997 or newer (I wanted the "current" engine/dash/console family plus the larger side storage/battery area). I wanted to run an OBD reader (which you can actually do with 1996 too, but I wanted the newer dash/console/etc.)

2) No interior smells (I have found them very hard to get rid of). Also no smoking, and hopefully no pets (actually, I have had my own pets in the past, so nothing against them; I guess what I really meant is no lingering evidence of naughty pets).

3) If a Concourse, then exterior paint in good condition (Premier are decals so easily re-done).

4) Preferably Club Lounge layout, but open to another one if all else aligned.

5) The oldest/least expensive but still "mintish" one I could find. Reason being I knew I wanted to mod it to my tastes, and I know from past experience that the more I spend initially the more hesitation I feel about changing things around.

6) On the other hand, I didn't really care about the furnace, water heater, microwave, batteries, charger, refrigerator, etc. I knew I'd be changing all of those, and even if not, some of them aren't hard to change to new ones anyway (with the exception of the absorption refrigerator, which, if that's what one wants, is expensive to replace). So of course I got one with a basically unused microwave, absorption refrigerator, furnace, etc. :roll:

7) If Concourse, I wanted blue. Knowing in advance that I disliked the blue interior, but I really like the blue exterior stripes, and they didn't mix and match. Oh, and also if Concourse, I wanted the "racing stripe" livery, as I'm not a "swoop" person. I also didn't want the cherry interior (see above about how if it's too nice I won't want to change it). I also just happen to like light maple/birch type wood vs. reddish wood, although I can see that the cherry is very pretty if it suits one).

8) I'd go anywhere to look/buy, but it had to never have been in the "salt belt" (I grew up with that, and now that I can travel to buy I do). Plus just the right Chinook would never be nearby (I'm not one of those who finds the perfect vehicle just ten miles down the road - those lucky ducks).

Really what it came down to was my ideal find would be a late 90's Concourse or Premier, stored indoors, clean inside and out, and basically stock and unmodded (because I like to do my own), and with reasonably low mileage -- but not so crazy low that nothing was ever exercised. I didn't really eliminate any years based just on the year (I think they were all pretty good, and by now it's more about how it was taken care of and/or stock features you like or dislike, which may dictate a particular year/era). Some years were eliminated for me, say, because I don't like swoopy paint. But that's not an inherent flaw or benefit, just my taste.

Well, that's just one person's list. I'm sure yours and anyone else's would be different, but it's an example anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 6th, 2017, 11:35 am 
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Joined: March 27th, 2017, 8:41 am
Posts: 26
Blue Go, two questions. What is an absorption fridge (showing my ignorance here). Second, I like the idea of the club chair layout but what about sleeping? Isn't the one sofa too small to sleep two? Our queen size bed at home is barely enough. I would also go anywhere to actually buy one. The problem is I have only been in two of them and have never driven one, so I would like to get a little more hands on experience prior to actual purchase. Unfortunately, it appears that my learning curve remains extremely steep. I was not aware of the many variations you just described. Are you aware of a source that identifies models and variations ( excluding customs of course)?


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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 6th, 2017, 1:14 pm 
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Joined: August 10th, 2014, 6:06 am
Posts: 134
tin can tourist,has a pretty good Chinook rundown,Absorption fridge....refers to how Propane Fridges work,as opposed to Compressor/refrigerant gas refrigerators like your home......If it's any consolation I got on a plane bought my Premier without ever driving a ford of any kind before.....I stopped for gas and couldn't start her back up,seems the ignition has a stronger spring then the toyota's I was accustom to Lol...a guy in a commercial truck filling up on the other pump turned it over and looked at me like I was a total idiot.That said,the 21 ft chinook is the easiest and nicest of drives in my opinion..There is more of a blind spot changing lanes to the right(than a car),and of course backing up is greatly assisted if you add a camera....The swoop design is a full paint package that other people seem to like and pay more for...Though the early v10 have a spark plug thread issue (for which there is a fix) starting in the 2002 model year I believe this was corrected,and Chinook changed the shell/floor construction including a drain and pan (under the fridge) although I have seen rigs with double pane Windows prior to 2002,I believe this is standard on later rigs....I understand the wisdom or "belief" theory,possibility of problems with ultra low mileage rigs (due to lack of exercise)so far my own experience has not confirmed that ( although I did prophylacticly change all fluids and belts at the time of purchase) that said I came on board Chinook awhile back and can say I have read only a handful of posts on mechanical issues not related to an owner upgrading there rig,,The ford 350 v8-v10 may not sip gasoline but it does appear a relatively solid and powerful platform...IMO. Sorry for barging into your question ...Rooney


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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 6th, 2017, 1:20 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
Posts: 223
Location: Santa Cruz
Blue~Go wrote:
1) 1997 or newer (I wanted the "current" engine/dash/console family plus the larger side storage/battery area)..


Is the compartment larger? Or just the door? My 1994 compartment is 53 inches long, and the door opening is 29.5".

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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 6th, 2017, 6:16 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
Posts: 526
Location: Northern NJ
M Spec wrote:
Are you aware of a source that identifies models and variations ( excluding customs of course)?

This post quickly lists the basic models by size and original price:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=645&p=4886#p4886

For much more depth, read this post and its links:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=516&p=3870#p3870

Especially the History and Brochure links, which will answer many of your model questions. And the 1997 promo video linked to at the end is neat to watch.

Btw, Blue~Go described a number of yearly changes in the first half of this post:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=461&p=3457#p3457

Also go to the forum's Reference Material board and browse around. For example, there's a Paint Scheme thread that describes the various external paint styles, a Brochures collection, and of course a Manuals collection.

Kevin

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Last edited by kdarling on April 7th, 2017, 11:13 am, edited 12 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 7th, 2017, 12:27 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Scott,

I'll measure tomorrow. As I remember it, the '94-ish rigs have it so the door (not sure about the compartment) doesn't go forward past the water heater door. On the later ones (such as mine), the compartment and door both extend all the way forward under the water heater. I think they added a little "drop down" in the mold vs. having it continue the exact body line.

****

Rooney explained well on the absorption refrigerator. It is also often called a propane refrigerator. They were the gold standard in RV fridges for many years because you can run them on propane and not electricity. 12 volt compressor refrigerators are in the realm of possibility now that solar charging systems are attainable by average folks. Some people also run "residential" compressor refrigerators with an inverter. The Chinooks came with absorption refrigerators.

When I was shopping for my previous camper van (late 90's Ford), I was completely freaked out by the spark plug issue. After years of driving Toyota's and etc. it seemed scary. From what I read, the earlier ones ('97 to I think around 2003, IIRC) had the "few threads and could strip or pop" issue, and the later ones had some issues with I think breaking off inside the head (later being mid-2000's or so).

I really wanted a camper van, and then later a Chinook, so I bit the bullet. So far so good, but now that I have read more I know what I would do if I did experience the problem. There are inserts you can put in that make them better than new. Most people wait until there is a problem (if it does occur) but I have heard of a few people doing them prophylactically. The V-10 can also break manifold stud bolts. But my general sense after owning a couple and reading a lot is that they are generally pretty good engines, and problems - should they occur - can be fixed. I also didn't read about any other equivalent vehicles that didn't have some potential issues (albeit different ones).

On the layout, if I were regularly sleeping two, I probably would not opt for the club lounge. Some who like to sleep cozy have done it, but in that situation I'd then probably go for the twin bed (or two couch) layout. That's just personal preference because I like an open middle and so the dinette seems to jut to far into the middle space for me. Plus I'm just not that much of a dinette person. But sleeping-wise, either the twin bed/two couch model or the dinette would seem roomier for a couple, sleeping-wise.

If you love the club chair layout, I have seen people devise foldable extensions to make the folded out sofa bed wider; but if you're not set on it...why not go for one of the others.

Having said that the dinette was my last choice of layout, I would have gone for one if the "right" Chinook had turned out to have it. Reason is that that side of the rig (in the 21-ers) is basically the same design in all three layouts -- meaning they can be changed around. That's especially an option if you plan on removing the carpet anyway, as then there wouldn't be carpet scars, etc. Some people have even found "table side" furniture to buy from another Chinooker who was changing. Of course it's handy if you find just the right layout to begin with.

BG

PS: Rooney, how funny on the "no start" situation after you bought your Chinook. I can just imagine that exchange! (And the key does take a bit more oomph to turn than many other vehicles.) Actually I have a variation on that story with my first Ford van (camper van). I could NOT get the oil cap off. I was twisting like mad, and there was enough flexing that I was afraid I would break it. I didn't know exactly how it was designed. Finally I pulled into a Ford dealer and they twisted the cap off and gave me a similar "it takes all kinds" look :lol: I still think it feels weird though!

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 Post subject: Re: New to Chinook
PostPosted: April 7th, 2017, 5:49 am 
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Joined: March 27th, 2017, 8:41 am
Posts: 26
Once again everyone has provided me with valuable information...Thanks Much!!! Any of you guys live within say 400 miles of KC?


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