Looking to pull the trigger on a Cortez

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    Hi All
    I’m getting close to pulling the trigger on purchasing a Cortez.
    I’ve got two in mind …first one runs ,no problem with good Transaxle or motor
    2nd much nicer unit but is not running. My question is what sort of mileage on the transaxle before it needs to be rebuilt generally? And I heard Mouse talking about looking for syncro’s in another post…are syncros available?…possibly old Clark Forklift mashups. parts. how about replacing internals.. Iv’e got a friend who works on old boat Transmissions v-drives Borg Warners ect. and showed me all he knows. If I could find the parts,along with the instructions from the Cortez libary I’m sure I could figure it out.My dilima is do I buy the nicer unit not running and take my chances with the transaxle? (Not concerned with the slant 6 if its got issues I can handle that) Just not sure about dealing wit Transaxle problems.

    I guess if all else fails its time for a Toronado upgrade 🙂


    Hey Milo! Here’s a few thoughts for your consideration.

    The Clark transaxle was made by Clark solely for the Cortez. To my knowledge, it was never used in any of their other equipment. There weren’t a lot of Clark units to begin with, and the number of units left is regularly shrinking. So finding a replacement transaxle may be VERY difficult. The manual for the transaxle is pretty good, but you’d still need to find some sort of old school trans shop who’d be willing to work on it and find/fabricate parts. There were a couple of guys who did Cortez trans work, but they are retired and/or passed away, so that knowledge may not be available either. There are no off-the-shelf parts, such as synchros that I’m aware of (I wish I knew the answer to this).

    You cannot simply swap in a Kent drivetrain. It actually takes considerable fabrication to make it work.

    So, if you buy the non-running coach, you are taking a chance that there are trans problems, that could be difficult to cure. On the other hand, I’d hate to see it go the way of so many others.



    I am about to buy a Clark and a little frightened about how to get it serviced and fixed when something goes wrong. I live in Long Beach, CA.
    Any advice. The RV runs and is good shape but still concerned.
    Thank you, have not figured out how to post on this Forum.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by Charles.

    Welcome Charles!
    Buying any classic motorhome is certainly not for the faint of heart or those not mechanically inclined. You WILL have problems and breakdowns at the most inopportune times! The good thing is that if you can do some things yourself, the coach is pretty basic. Any mechanic who works on classic cars will be able to work on the slant-six engine and it’s components. The suspension is pretty straight forward also, but finding some of the replacement bushings etc, is going to require some research and maybe some fabrication. The killer on the Clark models is the transaxle. This was made solely for the Clark Cortez, and there are no off-the-shelf parts that I’m aware of. If the trans fails, you’ll have to find one from a coach being parted out, or find an old school trans shop willing to tackle it and probably fabricate some parts. Either option is going to be pretty expensive.

    Lastly, Although there are still quite a few folks around who are willing to help you with advice and information, the population of long term Cortez owners who have the knowledge of specific repairs is aging (some have already left us). Which is why I created this site, so we could try to preserve as much of that knowledge as possible. I don’t want to discourage you from buying in any way, but you should have full knowledge of what you’re getting yourself into.

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