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Full Version: Learning about the cult of Wanderlodge
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I'm looking to purchase a motor home in the next year so I'm trying to get educated. I've been lurking on some Wanderlodge sites and forums for a few months. I've always been partial to the Wanderlodge. My father came close to buying one back in the early 1980's. That impression of the fine build quality and craftsmanship has never left me. Now, I'm looking to retire, buy an RV and Wanderlodge is at the top of my list.


1. Can you compare Wanderlodge ownership to the classic car hobby? It seems that the Wanderlodge has a cult following. There is an air of mystery associated with any Bird. I compare it to showing up at a classic car meet and a guy pulls up with a Packard, a Duesenberg or a Tucker--or some other automobile that is rarely seen but highly revered. The other car guys look on with awe and amazement. Is this a correct assumption?

2. How hard is it locate parts for the drive train and chassis?

3. Could I expect a well maintained Bird to be reliable and relatively trouble free? I realize that I would be looking at a twenty to thirty year old Bird and things wear out, need to be replaced, etc. Motor homes need attention and maintenance--similar to owning a boat or an aircraft.

I thank you all in advance for your replies.
TheKGB, huh? Interesting handle...

Anyway, welcome and here goes my answers.

A1. Cult following is a fairly accurate way to put it. I liken it to Corvette clubs. The other guys not only look on with admiration, but they usually come by to talk and ask questions. A lady last week in a large toterhome and stacker wanted to know how many bathrooms we had. She expressed jealousy upon hearing about the washer/dryer. All part of the ownership experience.

A2. IMO, parts for drivetrain and chassis isn’t your challenge. It’s all pretty much standard class 8 stuff. Trying to find a good mechanic for the older engines may be challenging however. The bigger challenge, like any vintage vehicle, is the upkeep/replacement of the coach systems where electrical and other system parts manufacturers may be long gone.

A3. You answered your own question with your second and third sentences. Generally speaking, a well maintained Bird will still require constant attention like a large boat. Too many systems. There’s always something to work on. Preferably not on the road. A well maintained one will always be preferable to a neglected one, but there will still always be stuff to do. Try to find one with good maintenance logs that document PM, repairs and upgrades. And always make sure the “blue box” or owner’s manuals are there. Preferably with all the system drawings.

Good luck in your search and happy hunting.
Welcome, I have a '90WB. With that said, I think I have broken down about 3 times in 13 years. That's towable breakdowns, and I now have just past 250k on the speedo. And as Mike has said, it is a cult type of thing. When I am parked at a campground, my coach is always getting looks(and sometimes, pictures are taken) and questions. Most people don't believe it's as old as I say, and can't believe it when I stick a magnetic on the side, or that it has the original paint job. When I tell them, I have a Detroit powering it, they really are awed.
I don't know what part of the country(or Russia) your in, but there are gatherings held with from 20 to 150 coaches, you might to stop in on one and talk to owners and look at them, in and out. Most of the time, we don't bite, unless I haven't had my coffee yet.
To Mike and Steve:

Thanks for your input. One of my biggest concerns is the two-stroke Detroit Diesel engine. From what I have read on numerous forums, it seems that it's difficult to a mechanic that can still repair the old hardware. Am I wrong?

I live in Atlanta. I did run across a Bird owner through a facebook thread. I had him on the phone for an hour and took six pages of notes. He's offered to show me his Wanderlodge. I just need to get time to take him up on his kind offer. I would welcome the opportunity to stop in at any gatherings. I'm always up for a road trip. Please let me know of any upcoming events.
My engine is the two stroke, but it is a DDEC 2. In other words, second generation, computer controlled. I have not had too much trouble finding people to work on it, BUT, it is getting there. It is still being used by the military and will be so until 2050. If you are concerned about it, talk to a Detroit dealer in your area. I know WWWilliams(in Atlanta) still works on them.
Or, you can look for a '95 and up coach which has the 60 series Detroit.
There is a rally in Pine Mountain, Ga., in Oct., with about 150 coaches.
Steve: Thanks for the info! I'm aware of the rally in Pine Mountain in October but I have a prior commitment and I can't get out of it; otherwise, I would be there. If any other rallies or meetings are coming up please let me know.
Thanks for the info. For what it's worth, I did call WW Williams today and talked to a service tech. He advised me to look for a 60 series engine instead of an 8v92. Long term, he believes that the 60 series would be a better choice. Granted, that's one persons opinion. . .
For All Bluebird Rallies go to https://friendsofthevintagebluebird.wildapricot.org/.
I'm sure you will be welcome at all of them.

Thanks for the info. I should be able to make to a couple of these rallies this summer. Hope to see you there!
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