Friday, August 20, 2010


Ok so I have been looking around for info on the Winnebago LeSharo's and have seen more bad then good. I thought I would post this blog my first to show some of my Lesharo travel.  I purchased my first Lesharo- Phaser about 8 years ago. It was a 1985 Turbo diesel. The kids and I loved the layout but the drive line was a complete basket case. I bought her in Tenn and drove it home to Iowa 15 hrs. SLOWWWWWW going. The diesel engine had 12k on it and after another 3k from me it died. Parts were more than the unit was worth so it was sold. I never got over the camper though. So I started watching and found another Lesharo in Florida. This one a tight little 1987 with the 2.2 gas auto tranny. Great another 2 day trip so to the sunshine state we go. An excellent running camper with no power at all. Forget the ac I said to myself in the hot Florida sun. Thinking quick I fired up the genny and ran the coach unit..(I know not wise but I was roasting) The 2.2 preformed well but the tranny would get hot and boil her fluid out.  I stopped in Tenn and fitted it with an aftermarket cooler. This resolved the boil over and things went well the rest of the trip. I got it home to Iowa and being hot and tired put it in the drive way and walked in the house. The hard part was done so I thought.
Getting back to it a few days later all the fluids were gone through and a camping trip planned. We took a short trip to a local campground and set up. The water and electric hooked up the kids at play I start checking the plumbing system everything was good except the water tank which was filled with rusty stench water. I turning the pump on contaminated the rest of the systems so off with the water. I turned on the ac and got it chilled inside we had a great time less the plumbing.  On leaving a huge spot of oil was noted on the ground. So I stop to check the oil which is almost empty. Filled it back to the full line and 15 miles later low oil again. Great.. Put more in and limped her home. The whole time my brain yelling you idiot did you learn nothing about this junk renault drive line? Are you a dunce?  I wager myself a fair mechanic so I figure a rear main is needed. Parts ordered from the lesharo hut in winnebago Iowa.,... A nasty 2 day job and several cans of beer later the seal is in and the 2.2 is purring like a kitten. Ah all is better so I pull out the water tank and clean it flush the water system noting the pump is shot. A trip to ebay and a new pump is put in.. Ok I figure its safe to plan a camping trip. So we head about 50 miles north of home to a nice shady spot in the pines. All perfect with the coach but as I am rolling out our camping rug I notice my friend the oil spot has popped its ugly head up. Upon inspection I can see the front seal is leaking along with a little water from the head gasket. The kids are having a ball and I am thinking of where to push this bucket of crap over a cliff at and forget it for good. However the lesharo grows on you. You either love or hate the things. For all it engine faults the coach is perfect for us... So the kids play And I wage options. Option 1. Buy a tow dolly and pull the camper behind my pick up.. Nah. 2. wind sails.... Nah.. 3. I heard of converting these to american drive lines... Hmm alot of work and I have no tools to fabricate such things.  4. pay someone else to do the work..

So i limp her home again watching the water and oil levels close. It does pretty good needing nothing to make the 50 mile drive. I get home and hit the internet. A place in Montana has the cure for her ill but getting the thing there is not gonna be an easy task. And the 17k to do the work is gonna be a problem too. Other options was to buy a newer rialta but 50k was out of the question.

So we set up a date with skunk works to convert her to chrysler. The drive was a 2 day hair raising oil and water drinking affair but after 14 quarts of oil and a loosened radiator cap to keep the pressure down we creeped into gregs shop. Just as I reach to turn the key off there is  a backfire and the renualt engine uttered its last words. I was later told it had shattered a piston..

We left our little winnie there with dozens of others and waited for the news for the doctor. 6 weeks later a call came in stating the engine and drive line is in along with a new steering rack and various other things. the doctor bill was as stated at 17k.
We load up to go get our money pit upon arriving we were surprised to see a polished unit looking as she was new. The bill paid and keys back I go get in.
Hitting the key and hearing that chrysler starter roll over the engine was indeed an excitement. The digital dash seemed to say ok master here I am where to. After some discussion with the doctor about some dos and donts we were on the road.
First problem showes it head about 10 minutes down the road. The speedo seems to have an issue as I certainly cannot be running 75 A call to my chase car confirms that I am hauling. OK cruise control time.
70 and stay there. What a change. The lesharo now has a 3.3 liter engine and a heavy duty tranny with overdrive. fuel milage is 17mpg pushing it.  So the lesharo makes the drive home from montana to Iowa with no issues. Comfortable air conditioning is blowing out of the vents radio singing us home.  This was a while back and still to this day not an issue. I would take her anywhere anytime and not worry. If something should go wrong a trip to any auto store or chrysler dealer and it would be solved unlike the ruddy renault garbage.

So if you have one and want to make it a good one see greg erikson in montana. He will cure the ills of your underpowered tenament on wheels. Stay tuned for more lesharo trips and fun!

Winnebago Lesharo

1987 LeSharo 3.3 Chrysler