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Discussion Starter #1
I'm about to get an old 1977 C30 chevrolet cab over motorhome, Mainly I am getting it for parts, my camper needs a working fridge and heater. On the other hand I am thinking what can I do to fix, convert or change it up so I can sell it and get enough to repair my camper trailer. Supposedly it ran 1 year ago so I should be able to get it running. The top and floor have water damage. My thoughts are, convert it to a cab over sleeper with a flat bed. Repair the roof, floor and sell it as an open box truck. Keep it as a camper. My thoughts are that a cab over sleeper with a flat bed would be really cool. I think that might possibly make it sell for more than the full out camper.
What are your thoughts on this?
 

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Most those older camper where wood construction and a cheap tin frame. If it has water damage it's most likely to rotten to mess with IMHO.
 

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Good luck with the rv fridge and heater, these can be expensive and troublesome. I don't use the rv furnace much while camping and have been using "the Buddy" cat.heater instead. The buddy is silent, efficient and really warm.

And about creating a hauler, RV water damage can be a real nightmare and depending on the rot it might be best to start fresh, down the frame, this is a huge job. That being said,I like the cab over sleeper and flatbed idea but would also add a galley and head, this is a huge job so you could really boondock. this is a huge job
I really admire the DIY guys, so keep the progress posted
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Most those older camper where wood construction and a cheap tin frame. If it has water damage it's most likely to rotten to mess with IMHO.
You just described the newer campers as well. If those roof membranes fail even the newest models fall apart. The good news is 1983 not 1977 with electronic ignition. I think it was made for unleaded fuel so that is better. It is 2nd hand from my Mom's friend 49,000 miles and some change. I will see how much I want to do on it.
 

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Five summers ago, I decided to "fix" the leak by the front window of our 12 yr old ALJO trailer. When I had peeled away the inner veneer I discovered that the entire wood-frame was completely rotten...all the fiberglass insulation had fallen to the bottom...I could see daylight around the window - absolutely no surprise that it was as rotted-out as it was. The dry rot was so bad that I didn't need a hammer to dismantle it...I was able to remove most of the 2x2 "wood" framing with just a shop vac! I ended up rebuilding most of the framework for the front wall...but it was obvious that the rot had spread into the sides, the ceiling and likely into the floor as well.
Long story short...unless you have a covered area to work under, have NO time-frame, are willing to go down to bare metal, have LOTS of time to spend and like to "fix things"...then don't bother. RV's are typically constructed as cheaply as possible and are lousy investments.
You will also have a hard time matching interior paneling, because it's not available to the general public.The Dealer's may have some in stock, but it is only for warranty repairs. Interior themes change over the years,so getting anything to match a '77 could be next to impossible.
Good luck...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I went out and messed with the old RV today. I got it started up and it is running pretty good. I drove it around the neighborhood where I am getting it from. It isn't bogging down or anything. The previous owners had stored it well with fresh fluids in all. The only issue is that it was dieseling when I killed it. Is anyone familiar with the older quadrajet carburetors and running ethanol in them? Any timing adjustments which would help with the ethanol? Would a cooler plug help to deter the dieseling? The engine didn't knock or ping a bit when I was driving it around.
 

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I'm a firm believer of rescuing old vehicles, but a camper with wood rot is not an easy or quick fix. Dump the camper body, close the rear of the cab off and fit a flat bed to it to make a flat bed transporter.
Either way you need to do the math and see where you can gain the most. I know that here by us if a vehicle was first registered as a camper you need to go to the DOT and re-register it as a transport vehicle. Check with the local DOT on that before you start.
Otherwise just break it up and sell the components off on e-bay, that's where you'll recoup the most money.
 

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“Is anyone familiar with the older quadrajet”
Been a long time but remembered an issue with the carb was the vacuum operated power valve. It’s a pair of needles mounted on a linkage in the center of the carb. It can stick and cause all kinds of issues. Stuck closed no fuel, stuck open too much. The simple fix is to cycle the linkage and see if it frees up otherwise pull and clean the piston and bore.
another issue I recall was the stupid air filter diaphragm that sucks hot air off the exhaust manifold on start up. When the diaphragm fails it sucks Hot manifold air until you burn a valve.
Good luck going forward, I just redid the bathroom, shower and toilet in my RV and couldn’t be happier with the results. Great satisfaction in fixing and fussing on this camper.
 

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I had a motorhome years ago that had wood framing and the air conditioner started sagging. some investigating and found the wood supports were rotting. PIA repair! Sold that one a couple years later. Bought another MH (Gulfstream) that has aluminum framing - way better and solid.
Walk on the MH roof, if you feel any sagging....walk away.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update. After I drove it home I guess it blew some junk out of the engine and it now shuts off with the key. The old RV was running better as I made the trip. I started dismantling it in the water damaged areas on the ceiling and it is bad but not horrible. The interior paneling just peeled off in a couple of places and was only glued in place to the roof supports. A few of the support beams (joists) are rotted on one end so will need replaced. Nearly all of the outside walls are in good shape except for 2 small sections. It looks like the roof is a sandwich of thin wood foam insulation and the beam. The big debate is what do I cover the roof with after I have the decking repaired? Temporary rubber roofing which needs resealed for $500. every 5 years is out of the question. I am debating a solidi aluminum sheet which is good and seamless and at a mid point of about $700. for the sheet. You also have to search for a place to obtain it. I have looked at some spray type sealers similar to truck bed lining. One place I checked is between $1800. -$3600. which is really more than I want to spend. I am also thinking about using long sheets of aluminum (I still call it tin). Tin is reasonably cheap, it would hold up to hail, tree limbs, woodpeckers, and is strong over all. The negatives on the tin would be all of the screw holes needed to mount it to the vehicle. I would want to seal extra over the screws but I suspect this will be the route I go. Any suggestions?
 

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