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Hello all!
#1
Hi.  I'm new to the community and trying to do some research on a 1978 40' Newell coach located near Grass Valley, CA.  It has a Cummins 555 and Allison transmission. I am headed up to look at it this weekend and apparently its in turnkey condition although I have my doubts. The Facebook market place ad has very little info but I did talk to the owner and got some more pictures and details.  I'm here to see if I can learn some things about this coach and try to avoid any pitfalls.  I know the 555 motor is regarded as underpowered by some and prone to high maintenance.  Any info would be greatly appreciated, Thank you!
Carlos Knox
#2
1978's are a fairly rare breed and I haven't seen the Facebook Marketplace ad you reference. I have seen a few listed over the past 15 years but not many. Typically they had either the Cummins 555 or the Cat 3208. Most were either 35' or 38'. I understand that one and only one was built with a tag axle but I have never seen it. That was the only tag axle Newell built prior to 1986. Some have been repowered.
Michael Day
1992 Newell 43.5' #281
NewellOwner.com
#3
Just checked out the ad on Facebook. Pretty cool old coach.
#4
That looks like this coach: http://newellgurus.com/showthread.php?tid=4023
Michael Day
1992 Newell 43.5' #281
NewellOwner.com
#5
Carlos, welcome to the forum! Reach out to @Retro, he has repowered two 70's era coaches with Cummins 8.3 mechanical and Allison 6 spd transmissions. I'm in the process of a powertrain swap, but it's taking way more time than I thought.
Jon & Chris Everton
1986 40' Dog House #86
0 hp 8V92 Allison HT740
Soon to be 500 hp ISM 6spd ZF
#6
Welcome Carlos. My ‘78 had the 555. It was reliable for me. It was slow on the hills but would run 70 mph all day long on the flat. I loved the sound of it as well. The only thing that I spent a lot of $ on were the brakes. It had the old “wedge style” brakes. I changed the rear axle to S cam brakes.
1993 Newell 45' 8V92,towing an Imperial open trailer. FMCA#232958 '67 Airstream Overlander 27' '67GTO,'76TransAm,'52Chevy panel, 2000 Corvette "Lingenfelter"modified, '13 Grand Cherokee.
#7
My '73 had the wedge style brakes also. In 2001 I had a truck shop replace some of the wheel studs and they left a broken stud in a wheel. The next repair shop couldn't get parts for the wedge style brakes, so they had to change all the brakes to S cam, fortunately, the first shop picked up the bill.
Jon & Chris Everton
1986 40' Dog House #86
0 hp 8V92 Allison HT740
Soon to be 500 hp ISM 6spd ZF
#8
The backing plates and hardware I sourced from a truck salvage yard. I had to buy new drums,shoes,and actuators. The good news is that it increased the braking capacity of the rear axle significantly.
1993 Newell 45' 8V92,towing an Imperial open trailer. FMCA#232958 '67 Airstream Overlander 27' '67GTO,'76TransAm,'52Chevy panel, 2000 Corvette "Lingenfelter"modified, '13 Grand Cherokee.
#9
Thanks for all the replies! I'm heading to up to see the coach tomorrow. The current owner is a diesel mechanic and has done an engine rebuild I believe. The 555 has 74k miles on it. I would consider swapping it out for a stronger diesel at some point in the future. It will be registered in WA and I plan on towing a small trailer with a payload of about 4000 lbs. This coach will be used as a home base for a mobile outdoor drive in movie and concert business. I plan on mainly staying on the west coast and it will be very lightly used in the winter, probably mostly parked for 4 months out of the year.

I will ask about what kind of breaks it has and try to get as much info as possible. When checking this coach out myself is there anywhere I should specifically look for rust or water damage? I want to look at the roof as well. Are there any problem areas for these late 70's models I should look out for?

Thanks everyone!
Carlos Knox
#10
Look at the bay floors. My ‘78 had plywood over the steel floor. I ended up removing the tanks, building a new waste tank, cutting out and welding new steel in the bay floors. Not difficult work but very hard and dirty.
1993 Newell 45' 8V92,towing an Imperial open trailer. FMCA#232958 '67 Airstream Overlander 27' '67GTO,'76TransAm,'52Chevy panel, 2000 Corvette "Lingenfelter"modified, '13 Grand Cherokee.


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