2014 spring - GMCMI



Boots, Chaps and Cowboy Hats! There were “Happy Trails” at the GMCMI Spring Convention.

>> Convention Number

103 | Is the number of total attending registrants; 8 were partial attendees, 9 with motorhomes, 13 first timers plus 9 additional day passes!

16.5 | Is the number of hours of technical sessions, including an “Ask the Experts” and a live video projection of images on a large screen during a session.

21 | Is the number of blankets made at the convention. That makes a total of 875 blankets! Fantastic job ladies!

7 | 1974 GMC Owners received from GMCMI a license plate frame in honor of the 40 year old vehicle!

47 | Is the number of GMC Classics that utilized the Spring Convention as their GMC Classics Spring Rally


The GMC Motorhomes mosied up to the coral in Montgomery, Texas and had a gun slingin, steer roping and manure kicking good time.

Where do I begin to tell you what happened! We started off each day with the coffee hour of donuts, bagels, waffles, fruit, oatmeal and English muffins. Thank you to Dan Meyer and friends that made us sausage, eggs to order and bisquits & gravy that tasted great! We also enjoyed two catered meals, ice cream socials and the Great Chili Cookoff.

Our church service on Sunday morning was well attended. Thank you to Billie Kelley, Carol Baxter, Dale & Jane Ropp and the entire choir. Great job!

Chili Cookoff

The chili entries were fantastic. There were seven participants, including last minute, first-timers, Steve McAnnally & Pete Gaustads. Everyone enjoyed the variety of chilies that competed. One even had liquor in it! The winners for best decorated table were: third place – Matt & Mary Colie, second place – Bob & Sandra Price and first place – Wayne & Jan Peterson. The best chili winners were: third place – Good Ole Chili – Wayne & Jan Peterson, second place – Kansas City Chili – Denny & Teresa King and first place – Trashy Texas Chili – Bob & Sandra Price. Congratulations to all the winners.


Opening Night featured the award winning Miss Devon and the Outlaw from Fort Worth. Not just one but three awards in 2013: Western Music Assn. Duo/Group, Western Music Assn. Harmony Trio/Group and the ‘New Horizons’ Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The music and entertainment was great. Several couples even got up and danced! Yee Haw!

Rodeo Time! was the special event/competition organized by Lucy Weidner and Jane Hasek. Attendees signed up and competed as two teams at Round Up (a little hearding), Cowpie Toss, Ring Around the Steer, Steer Roping and Booty Time. It was full of fun for the participants and the audience. The Six Shooter’s were victorious!

Pineblock Derby

The Derby received a warm welcome back after not being held last fall in Branson. Thank you to Matt Colie and his pit crew, along with the appearance of the “Vanna Ladies”.

Ladies Division: 1st Place-Linda Turner, 2nd Place-Carol Baxter and 3rd Place-Mardy Array
Men’s Division: 1st Place-Fred Hudspeth, 2nd Place-Ray Swartzendruber and 3rd Place-Paul Smith.
People’s Choice: Fred Perkins.

Congratulation to all of participates and winners.

Defibrillator Training

Two years ago, GMCMI purchased a defibrillator and offers CPR/AED Classes every two years to members who wish to attend. We appreciate the 18 members that attended the class and became certified. Thank you!

Non-Technical Line-up

Here are additional non-tech sessions that were held during the Convention: GMCMI Geocache Bash, Ladies-Let’s Get Acquainted, Book Review, Tips for Healthy Living, Bookworms and Their Diet, GMC Part Exchange, Craft & Flea Market, Open House, Napkin Folding, Crafts & Blankets, How to Cut a Pineapple, Pineblock Derby, “A Texas Picnic” ladies social and bingo! Thank you for a great job! (See Ladies Page for additional information.)

Technical Line-up

Check out the information below in Tech Notes.

In Closing

We would like to thank everyone that attended, volunteered, supported and enjoyed the Convention. Keith and I appreciate the opportunity to meet and serve you all. We both look forward to sharing time with you at the Fall Convention in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin!

>> A Big Thank You to Our Vendors

A big thank you to the vendors for all of the time and support that your give our clubs! When looking for that part or information, check out this list and give them a call.

Gene & Joan Dotson
Conover, NC | 828-465-0678
Radiators, Windows and GMC Glasses

Bruce & Kathy Hart
Milliken, CO | 970-978-1089
Miscellaneous parts of deceased GMCer, Jim Brown from Loveland, CO. Front knuckles, gaskets, tools, fuel pumps, alternators and misc interior parts

Ken & Elaine Henderson
Americus, GA | 229-924-0851
Electric Windshield Wiper Kits and Miscellanous Items

Frank & Jeanne Jenkins
Gainesville, FL | 352-485-1397 | sites.google.com/site/gmcfrank/
Fiberglass & Aluminum Parts for GMC

Jim Kanomata | Applied GMC
Belmont, CA | 800-752-7502 | www.appliedgmc.com
Full Service and Parts Supplier

David & Mary Lenzi
Davison, MI | 256-653-3902
Suspension, Steering Parts and 8.1 Liter Engines

Kerry & Carolyn Pinkerton
Harvest, AL | 256-859-2999
Kiss Shelf and Metal Products

John D. & Linda Richardson
Niceville, FL | 850-897-9726
GMC Oil Products and GMC Motorhome Parts

Ken and Jeanne Robinson
Traverse City, MI | 231-929-9544
Steering Wheels, Lighting, Emblems, Gas Struts and Miscellaneous GMC Parts

J.R. & Jeanne Slaten
Louisville, KY | 502-363-3011
Valves, Oil Coiler Hoses, Miscellaneous Parts

Paul & Joan Smith
Traverse City, MI | 231-938-2172
GMC Emblems, Lights – Dock Lights, Fantastic Fans, Miscellaneous GMC Parts

>> Tech Session Lineup

A special thank you to the presenters for making the informational technical sessions possible. Here is a brief review compiled by Ken Henderson, Kerry Pinkerton and Fred Hudspeth of the presentations presented. Again, thank you!

Early Bird Roundtable

This was the first tech session of the Convention. With no assigned leader, one member began the discussions with an account of his GMC problems during a recent cross-country trip. From that seedling grew a broad-ranging discussion of possible causes and preventive measures. Then, others contributed personal experiences and questions which were, in every case, well addressed by other members of the audience. It was a very productive session covering a much broader range of topics than could any pre-planned presentation.

Maintaining the GMC Motorhome

This session is conducted interactively with owners sharing their experiences with the care, maintenance and repair of the motorhome. Fred Hudspeth introduces the subjects for discussion from a group of about 30 Power Point slides and makes a few remarks on them to get the discussions started. There is never any reluctance by owners to share their “best practices”. Only a few of the 30 or so topics are covered at each Convention to allow full development of each subject. Fred notes the last topic addressed in his PowerPoint slides at each Convention and continues with the next topic at the following Convention. It usually takes about four Conventions to cover all of the topics. Owners present who have been through the entire cycle are always willing to serve as advisors to newcomers (and maybe learn something new from them). At Montgomery, discussion focused on ride height adjustment, items requiring inspection/maintenance in the engine compartment, emission controls (with special emphasis on liquid/vapor separators and charcoal cannisters among the 12 or so controls requiring attention), the maintenance schedule provided with motorhomes when new and the accompanying brochure explaining the rationale for each scheduled maintenance item. This session will continue at the GMCMI Fall Convention in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

GMC Motorhome Mentor Program

The purpose of this program is to offer new owners the personal assistance of more experienced owners. The unique design of the GMC results in there being a steep learning curve and sometimes incorrect conceptions about its features. By spending just a couple of hours going over the newbie’s coach with him, a Mentor can often alleviate a lot of anxiety and prevent a lot of problems. At this Convention, there were only a few mentees (the subject of mentoring), so we were able to match them quite accurately with mentors who owned similar coaches. If you have any questions about this program, please contact Ken Henderson.

Mentor Program for the Ladies

This program was new at Montgomery and had a slightly different orientation than that “…for the Men”. Since most of the ladies don’t care much about the greasy parts, their concentration is more on the living area, and on the various Ladies’ activities at the Convention. This time, we were blessed with many more volunteers from the old-timers than we had newbies, so there was a lively discussion of topics that should be addressed during future sessions.

Rear Suspension

Dale Ropp presented an overview of the GMC’s original “Rear Suspension”, then turned the floor over to Ken Henderson who discussed some of the deficiencies of the original design. He then presented a survey of the numerous past and currently available modifications which have been developed. Disc brakes are available to replace the now-obsolete original drums. Track-control devices can stabilize the rear suspension, reducing road wander. Several alternative air suspension arrangements utilize more readily available components and/or offer different ride characteristics. 4-link rear suspension systems alleviate the tendency of the coach to rise in the rear during hard braking, with consequent flat-spotting of tires. Inexperienced owners hopefully left the session with better ideas about what they should do to their coaches in the future.

The Onan Generator

Presented by Jim Kanomata, a long time GMC owner who operates a GMC parts and service facility, including an Onan dealership. He reviewed the operation of the auxiliary generator, including some of its most frequent problems and their solutions. A lively question and answer session reflected the trying times some owners have with their Onans and hopefully will help reduce future frustrations.

Prepping & Painting Your Own GMC

Dale Ropp’s session was an entertaining review of what he went through in doing his own paint job. Despite his having considerable auto painting experience, it was a daunting task. With the help of friends, bartered labor and facilities, and a LOT of manual labor, he achieved a very admirable result. The session convinced most of the audience that they DON’T want to paint their own coach and that the prices asked by commercial painters aren’t so excessive after all.

ElectroLevel II/Level Sensors

John Sharpe briefly explained the characteristics of all of the leveling systems used on the motorhome and then explained, in depth, the operation, maintenance and repair of the ElectroLevel II system. It was used on about 1000 of the last motorhomes produced in 1978. He noted that two compressors are used and are controlled by level sensors in each wheel well. The key parts are used on other GM cars, including the electronic level sensors and compressors. No air tank is used with ElectroLevel II. He described common problems associated with the system and how to diagnose and repair them. He placed special emphasis on the solenoid operated control valves at the compressors, their mode of failure and how to fix. He explained means of determining whether parts salvaged from wrecking yards will work before buying them. John also described how to retrofit the ElectroLevel II system to an ElectroLevel I system. The advantage of doing so eliminates several solenoid valves, the pneumatic level controllers and wet air tank.

Diesel Engine in a GMC

Marc Hogenboom presented a very detailed presentation of the restoration and conversion of his coach to a 6.5 Diesel. This was done when Marc was in Europe and diesel fuel was cheaper than gas. In addition, he gets 14-15 mpg. Very impressive fabrication skills!

GMC Motorhome Open Forum

The Forum was somewhat of an extension of the first tech session held on Friday in that the moderator, Ken Henderson, just threw out a comment or two to stimulate audience questions. Every question presented was soon answered by one or more of the “Experts” in the audience. With the broad experience base available among the GMCMI membership, there are good answers to many question about the GMC, and they’re freely shared. One of the greatest things about GMCMI Conventions is the opportunity to discuss problems with friends who know more. It’s sort of selfish to have those discussions in groups of 3-4 people when an “Open Forum” lets the wisdom be shared among a large group.

Making Life Easier in My GMC

Kerry & Carolyn Pinkerton led a sharing session where people spoke up and described things they had done in and to their coach to improve their livability.

  1. Cut foam squares to cover interior windows and ceiling vents for increased insulation.
  2. Use the KISS tray to store the oil filler cap while putting oil in the motor. Or screw a wire basket on top of the headlight bucket.
  3. Vaseline around hoses and cables will keep ants out.
  4. Bleach kills fire ant hills.
  5. Plastic shoe boxes are great organizers for overhead cabinets.
  6. 1 gallon Ziplock bags for storage of ‘stuff’. Just carry inside when not on the road and carry out to load.
  7. Hanging a shoe holder over the closet door allows for lots of storage for stuff besides shoes.
  8. Put a magnet on the gas door and put your gas cap on it when filling so you don’t leave the cap behind.
  9. Bathroom vanity shelves slope and things fall off. Glue or tape plastic drywall edge protectors to each shelf.
  10. T-Fal made pots and pans with removable handles that nested and were easy to store.
  11. The Regusa 3 battery tray is great for storage. Ken Henderson also has paper templates if someone wants to cut out a plywood shelf in front of the front wheels. Located in Ken’s folder on the photo site.
  12. The Doanes demonstrated their fold up table that expands from 2 1/2×3 to 2 1/2×6 for seating up to six.
  13. Microwave/convection oven needs ventilation. Don’t install without sufficient air space.
  14. Use a water pressure regulator to keep from blowing out your plumbing if the city water is too high. Adjustable regulators are best. Several people reported leaks (some disastrous) from overly high city water pressure.
  15. A thin cedar panel in the back of the closet keeps clothes smelling fresh.
  16. You can now buy an induction hot plate. VERY fast but requires cooking pans that are ferrous, that is, magnetic. Aluminum won’t work. SOME stainless will.
  17. Emery Stora has published how to increase the heat from the front gas burners by drilling out the orifice to a new size. Details in his photo album.
  18. A clear Plexiglas panel at the bottom of the closet keeps things from constantly falling out when you open the door and you can still see what is there.
  19. Raise the bed on 1x8s and hinge it for additional storage underneath.
  20. If you ever have your windshields out, take the opportunity to remove the screws holding the dash in, clean, and reinsert finger tight so they will be removable IF you ever need to pull the dash. They are very difficult to remove in the best of conditions but if rusted in place very, VERY difficult.
  21. LOTS of space behind the fridge can be utilized. Some of the fridges want ZERO space behind the fridge.
  22. Use a belly board when working on the engine. If cut to width of the aluminum angle, it can be placed wherever it is needed.
  23. Use a heavy plastic spatula to tuck in the bedspread where you can’t reach it.
  24. If your dash or satellite radio has ‘electrical’ noise on it, try running it from a new dedicated 12V wire and ground from the fuse panel under the hood. Twisting the ground and hot wire around each other throughout the run helps.
  25. Use city water to fill the water tank and run off the water tank instead of city water. When you’ve used the 30 gal of water, your black tank is full and it’s time to dump.
  26. Use an adjustable window rod (spring rod) on the top closet shelf to keep things from falling off.

Brake System Problems and Fixes

This was a typical Dave Lenzi tour d’force. Prepared with a fantastic brake system mockup, including multiple master cylinders and boosters, and full power available to demonstrate their operation, Dave proved and disproved a number of the assumptions we’ve all had about the GMC brake system. With video projection of images of the mockup on a large screen, everyone was able to see the effects of changes in master cylinders and boosters. As demonstrated, many of our brake boosters are not performing as they should, and even fewer are producing the braking force they’re capable of. Many of us were convinced that we should send our brake boosters to Dave for upgrading. Several people attending the Convention were able to install Dave’s new boosters. They and others that drove their coaches reported dramatic improvements. The long and short of the booster situation is there are now three different types:

  1. Stock
  2. Sensitized from various sources
  3. Enhanced sensitized from Dave Lenzi

Dave was very careful not to ‘sell’ anything during his presentation but several members of the audience testified about the improvement they had personally experienced.

The changes Dave makes do not effect HARD stopping at all but are very apparent in moderate stopping situations where MUCH less foot pressure is required for a given amount of brake output. Dave’s fantastic test jig proved the results without question or debate. Facts are facts! For instance, a stock master cylinder and stock booster with 20 inches of vacuum and 30 lbs of pedal pressure produces 550 PSI pressure in the brake line. Dave’s sensitized booster produces 900!!!!! At 60 lbs pedal pressure the output is the same.

Dave’s test jig also demonstrated that the 34mm MC only produces 1000 PSI max vs 1150 for the stock MC.

Dave will be presenting this session at the Fall GMCMI Convention in Chippewa Falls.

“Ask the Experts”

Hubert Rowell, Jim Kanamata and Bill Bramlett sat on the panel.

A great wide ranging question and answer session with three of the most knowledgable members of our community. Some of the nuggets were:

  • Gates Green Line Barrier Fuel hose 30R7 will stand up to Ethanol
  • O’Reillys carries 30R14 which is even better
  • Over 4000 feet in elevation you can advance timing 1 degree per 1000 ft
  • “Rector Seek” is better than soapy water at finding air leaks
  • Most folks recommend 60PSI rear and 65 PSI front tire pressure for radial tires.
  • McMaster-Carr carries a VITON check valve that stands up to Ethanol. Use between fuel pump and tank to prevent pumping back into the tank.

GPS for Motorhomes

Larry Turner described and demonstrated the use of a digital navigation system that he uses for his motorhome trips. The software for the system is the current version of Delorme Street Atlas. He played back excerpts of one of his trips during his presentation to illustrate the features of the system. Larry noted that while the technology is fascinating, it is not without its problems.

On the Grounds Opportunities

During the Convention, many GMC hoods were up, men laying under GMCs, etc. The technical experience does not stop with the tech sessions.

One example, Alex Ferrara, also chief coffee maker, is on a crusade to make every owner understand how important it is to have their steering box aligned properly. As Alex says, “when it is aligned properly, you can drive it with one finger”. He adjusted and repaired several GMC steering linkages at the Montgomery Convention. Alex is planning on presenting a “live” tech session with video projection of images on a large screen at the Fall GMCMI Convention in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

>> From the Ladies Page of the GMCMI Newsletter

Hello Everyone,

We ladies had a variety of non-technical sessions, starting off with the Geocache Bash. Here is a report from Mary Colie:

The geocache information session at Montgomery hosted 15 people. Most were new, potential geocachers who wanted to find out what it was all about. They learned what to look for and how to read the clues to the ten geocaches hidden around the campground. Some of the newbies followed up on subsequent days to learn more about how to use their handheld GPS devices. In the end, only two people submitted their results: Robin Hadcock and Jan Peterson. Both of these women had found all the caches, but Robin found them all first. As of now, Robin and Jan will partner up to present the next geocache event at the Convention in Wisconsin. It is worth noting that this event is not for women only; many men attended the initial meeting and showed interest in this high-tech scavenger hunt. Geocaching has provided many hours of fun and exercise for those in search of the hidden items. Come join us at the next Convention!

Carol Swartzendruber (GMCMI Sunshine Lady) started off with “Ladies, Let’s Get Acquainted”. We learned a bit about each of us who attended and we have some very interesting ladies in our group.

The book exchange was a big success… lots of great books. Those that were left were donated to a local ladies shelter.

While on the subject of books… thank you to Sara Halley and Sharon Hudspeth who lead the Bookworms and their Diet session. Here is Sharon’s report:

Book lovers gathered and each shared her favorite authors and books. A printed list of the suggested books, compiled by volunteers Sara and Sharon, was available at the Convention. If you would like a book list, e-mail Kim Weeks, . Between now and our GMCMI Fall Convention in Wisconsin, if you read a great book you want to share with others, send the title and author to Kim and she will send it on to a volunteer to start a new list.

A book review, “Clara and Mr. Tiffany” by Susan Vreeland, was presented by Sharon Hudspeth. Clara Driscoll (1861-1944), stained glass artist and office manager for Louis Comfort Tiffany, did not get credit for the 30 iconic Tiffany lamps she designed. Voluminous letters she wrote (and not discovered until 2005) gave a slice of her artistic life. A video presentation featured a few of the iconic Tiffany lamps that are still popular today in replica form. Some of the original lamps Clara Driscoll designed have sold for over a million dollars.

Thank you Sharon, for your report on the Bookworms and the interesting book.

We always enjoy doing crafts and Jeanne Robinson did an outstanding job of organizing this for us. Here is her report…

Three craft classes were offered by Nancy Doane and Marilyn Phipps, who taught Arm Knitting, Mary Colie, who taught beaded, crocheted Christmas ornaments and myself doing small wall hangings. A good time was had by all.

In 1999, the Co-Pilot Quilters of GMCMI, was founded during a Convention in Iowa. Subsequently nine hand made quilts were completed and awarded to the lucky ticket holders, the last being presented to the winner in 2007 at Amana Colonies.

The “Crafts” then evolved into “Make it and Take it” projects taught by many members and attended by many more for the next seven years. My heart-felt thanks to all the ladies who have supported the program by quilting, teaching and attending classes for the past 15 years. I am now happy to retire and hope that you will give Mary Colie the same support to carry on the program.

Thank you to Jane Hasek who lead a discussion on “Tips for Healthy Living” and Pat Bode who taught us how to fold beautiful napkins and “How to Cut a Pineapple”. All were very interesting! Thank you so much for your time and talents.

Now onto the the always anticipated “Ladies Social”. Here is Sharon Hudspeth’s report:

The Classics GMC Club (aka “Classy Ladies”) hosted “A Texas Picnic” for the women (who looked splendid in their favorite western attire – denim jeans or skirts, vests, bandanas, hats and boots). Small buckets of silk Bluebonnets (the Texas State flower) with other wildflowers adorned the red checkered table cloths. For each attendee there was a keepsake bookmark, “The Legend of the Bluebonnet,” a Texas star oven mitt and a container of Texas produced seasoned salt. Authentic saddles, ropes and chaps, owned and used by Jaye and Richard Hodges, carried out the western theme. Visiting with new and previous friends over good food and door prizes added to the picnic fellowship.

A hilarious skit, based on the book “The Cowboy and the Black Eyed Pea,” was presented by “cowboys” Jaye Hodges, Sheri Jackson, Sandra Price and Gay Guelker, each wearing identical black mustaches. Their academy award winning performance was narrated by Sharon Hudspeth. Adding to the humor was the “4 cowboys” favorite shared prop, a child’s stick horse that made galloping and neighing sounds. The stick horse now happily resides in a Texas day care nursery owned and operated by one of our Classics members and her daughter.

Please take the time to check out some of photos of the Ladies Social plus the Convention at www.gmcmi.com, under the GMC Gallery tab.

Unfortunately, the Open House day was the only day that was cool and windy. But that did not stop us from strolling around the park and checking things out.

And let me tell you, the Flea Market was a big success. Many handmade items for the ladies and a lot of parts for the men!

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who volunteered in any capacity. The Convention would not be the success without your participation. We look forward to seeing you all in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin to celebrate Octoberfest!

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