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Winnebago LeSharo

The Winnebago LeSharo (which was also sold bearing the name Itasca Phasar) is a low roofed Motorhome/RV, of approx' 20ft in length, built by Winnebago industries in the U.S.A. at a time when fuel costs had soared, and the RV/Motorhome industry sales had slumped badly. The new Winnebago LeSharo model offered customers all the typical home comforts which had always been associated with owning a Winnebago RV in the past, but without a 'gas-guzzler V6 or V8' engine under the hood/bonnet. It was also a vehicle which was actually little more than a very compact large panel van with windows, which made driving it and parking it much simpler, which is obviously very appealing to anyone who has never owned/driven an RV/Motorhome before. The alloy Le Sharo body was built on the early front wheel drive Renault Trafic chassis/cabs [which meant it could have a low floor and therefor, low roof], and was powered by small four cylinder Renault engines (small Renault diesel engines were also an option). Although the Le Sharo was in fact very economical fuel wise [as Winnebago said it would be] and some owners claiming up to 24 to 25 miles per gallon [previously unheard of MPG for an American RV till the release of the Le Sharo], some owner/drivers in the U.S.A. complained that they thought the small Renault engines were under-powered, they didn't like the four speed manual transmissions, and replacement parts were sometimes hard to find around the U.S.A., yet the same complaints are not often heard about the LeSharo in the UK or Europe as a whole.

Winnebago LeSharo
Winnebago Lesharo.JPG
Winnebago LeSharo
Manufacturer Winnebago
Model years 1983-1992
Body and chassis
Class motor home
Layout Front-engine, Front-wheel drive
Related Renault Trafic
Length 20 ft (6 m)
Successor Winnebago Rialta

The successor to the LeSharo was named the "RIALTA", which was built on a Volkswagen base vehicle, with an almost identical living area, but included a few tasteful 'updates'.


First generation (1983-1986)Edit

Built during the era when tougher fuel economy laws had just come into effect in the US and the national speed limit was 55 mph to save fuel, the LeSharo was intended to appeal to drivers who wanted better fuel efficiency than traditional motor homes. The chassis and cab were built by Renault, based on the same platform as the Renault Trafic (T5, LWB). Renault sold complete knock down (CKD) kits to Winnebago[1] All the 1983 models were powered by the 2068cc all aluminum OHC 4 cylinder normally-aspirated diesel engine (producing 66 hp) with a 4 speed manual transaxle, yielding 22 mpg (US). In 1984 an optional turbo charger was added, increasing power to 75 hp. In 1985, a 2165cc Bosch fuel injected, 4 cylinder gasoline engine became available, with a 3 speed computer-controlled automatic transaxle, delivering more power, but somewhat less fuel economy and making the vehicle 423 lb (192 kg) heavier. After 1986, the diesel engine was discontinued. Catalytic converters and carbon canisters were not required for motor vehicles exclusively for sale in Europe and were only fitted for the US market to comply with the US E.P.A. requirements for exhaust and evaporative emissions at the time. The Lesharo was fitted with a catalytic converter made by Teneco Walker's European division and a carbon canister from GM to comply with conformance standards.

GVWR for the 1985 TD model of Lesharos and Phasars is 5,830lbs[2]

Second generation (1987-1992)Edit

The Winnebago LeSharo was redesigned for the 1987 model year with a more aerodynamic design and a larger rear window. The spare tire was moved from the outside rear into a rear storage compartment. Gross Vehicle Weight increased from 5,830 lb to 6,677 lb and exterior height increased from 97 inches (2.46 m) to 99 inches (2.51 m). The diesel engine was no longer available. An optional 5 speed manual transaxle became available in 1988 and 1989 only. A heavy duty rear axle was included in 1989 and subsequent MYs. In mid-1989, the fuel injection unit was changed from a Bosch LU-Jetronic with Lambda Probe(Oxygen sensor)to a RENIX (Renault-Bendix joint venture) based one. Therefore, fuel injection parts between the differing units are not interchangeable as Bosch connectors are rectangular and RENIX, oval.

Total U.S. salesEdit

Approximately 21,000 Renault Trafic I based, Winnebago vehicles were sold between 1983 and 1992 as the Lesharo, Itasca Phasar, Century, and Utility Van (2 seater).[3][citation needed]


  1. ^ "Curbside Classic: 1985 Winnebago". Truth about cars. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  2. ^ LeSharo-Phasar Operators Manual

External linksEdit