Apr 272019

Say hello to my new money pit… a 1989 Allegro M-28 Basement model RV made by Tiffin Motor Homes! At least I think that’s the model… it’s not marked anywhere I can find on the RV, and I have not yet gotten my grubby fingers on any old Tiffin brochures from that era.

I’m told that this is a 28 foot long motor home, though I have to admit that I haven’t measured it myself yet. It’s a “class A” RV built on a Chevrolet P-30 series chassis, with a 454 cubic inch carbureted V8 engine and a 3-speed automatic transmission.

After buying it, the first trip was a 1.5-mile drive from the seller’s place to a tire shop, to replace all seven of its eighteen-year-old tires. Then it made the 100 mile drive home with just a bit of steering instability, but no other surprises. It would have been a much more pleasant drive if the air conditioning worked! Yup, both the dash A/C and the roof A/C are non-operational so far. Most of the ventilation fans need work, too. Aside from those issues, it just needs lots of minor repairs, as well as a number of planned upgrades and general renovation.

I think this will be a fun project. The 1989 Alegro is a well-built motor home with aluminum framing, roof, and side skins. I wish it was just a year or two newer so it would presumably have fuel injection instead of a carburetor, but it’s a nice chassis with unusual styling. It’s going to take a lot of work before it’s ready for travel, but I think I should have it ready for the 2020 Military Radio Collectors Group meeting with time to spare.

It’s set up with a sofa and two swivel chairs, and no dinette. It has two twin beds in the rear. There’s a fold-down bunk over the cab, which I think I will convert from a bed into a workbench/table. It has big water and waste tanks, and LOTS of storage space in the basement area. I eventually plan to add more house battery capacity, and a bunch of solar panels on the roof. I’d like to find a way to mount a mast for an HF wire antenna on the trailer hitch when I’m camped out.

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  13 Responses to “Meet My New Money Pit”

  1. Wow really looks like a great potential rig. Glad you got it , remember you were a little undecided for a while. We have a Winnebago Elandan, 37 footer. Total shambles we I got her, but slowly reworking her totally.
    I want to put in bunk area like yours has above cab area. Have a few ideas I am working on. Would consider posting or private message to me a few photos of the working mechanism for you over cab bunk, I would like to avoid re-inventing the wheel.
    Enjoy your project and hope all goes well with it.

    • I’ll take some pictures of the support arms. I don’t know what’s inside the boxes at each end; presumably a spring. There are two 3/4″ wide lashing straps, one at each side fo the cab, to keep it from bouncing on the driver’s head while driving. Whatever buckle might have been there is long gone, so now they just have to be passed through footman loops on the bed and tied in knots. I’m brainstorming how to make better travel latches.

    • I added several pictures of the bunk arms. I hope this helps you. I’m still working out how I want to implement better travel locks. The mechanism had a detent in the upper position that holds the bed up when parked, but it’s not strong enough to hold the bed against road bumps. So, some sort of travel lock is necessary. The bed can swing left and right a half inch in each direction, and I’m sure the vehicle body has some flex, so the travel lock probably can’t be too rigid. It just needs to keep the bed from dropping down. I’d like to secure the bed against its mechanism boxes instead of to the body, where the lashing straps are presently secured. I have a number of ideas I’m playing with.

  2. Fuel injection for that 454 shouldn’t be hard to come by, but it may be more trouble and cost to get it in than it’s worth. At the very least, a better carb should be able to give you some better performance and fuel usage numbers.

    Cool rig, have fun with it!

  3. Hey I have a 1988 28′ similar unit…..where can you get vintage wiper blades for replacement? Any idea??

    • Hi! I found a cross-reference tool on the Trico web site which helped me figure out that the 20″ Trico HD 63 Series blades will work on my rig:

      Trico: Find Your Wiper Size

      Then I ordered a set through Amazon:

      Amazon: Trico 63-201

      I’d still like to find a way to adapt or replace my wiper arms so that I can use common J-hook mount blades that I can buy at any auto parts store, but the pressure is off now that I at least know how to order blades that fit.

      This RV is a money pit… and I love it!

  4. I am the new owner of a 1989 Winnebago Chieftain 28 sitting on the same P30 chassis. I look forward to reading your blog for tips and tricks in maintaining a 30 year old home on wheels. Cheers!

    • Congratulations on your new old rig! So far the most significant thing I’ve done is replacing the dead and leaky old Fantastic Fan in the bedroom area with a new MaxxFan Deluxe. I’ve also done lots of small things. My next major task will probably be to see if I can fix the roof A/C, or replace it if I can’t.

  5. Any updates?

    • Like most of my projects, this one has kind of stalled. I fixed the roof air conditioner (it needed new motor capacitors), replaced its seal and fiberglass shroud, and upgraded the rear roof vent fan to a new Fantastic Fan. There’s an infinite number of other things to do, still!