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New project - Ultimate Toyota RV Rehab

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Old 03-19-2017, 08:39 AM   #1
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New project - Ultimate Toyota RV Rehab

I've been busy for a while, and have some new get up and go, and am aiming to inject some new life into part of my Toy collection. I'm been considering refurbishing my water-rotten 82 dolphin 21' RV with a Factory-Style 4wd Solid Axle Swap, utilizing all brackets, mounts, and frame hardware from my '81 parts Chassis, modding the 1 ton full-floating Dually Axle to Spring-Over-Axle, using the 6x7.25" hubs and Dually style wheels all around front & rear, and re-building the RV coach with a full-fiberglass body for go-anywhere camping.

Planning for the power-train to be 5 speed manual, high-compression (9.4:1) 22R/20R hybrid with a low-boost draw-through side-draft turbocharged setup, on 3:90:1 diffs & maybe 14" wheels.

I'm not planning on serious monster rock-crawling or mudding, just wanting to get to places...

Any thoughts? Good, Bad, Ugly, or just plain crazy?
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New project - Ultimate Toyota RV Rehab-20170319_144102.jpg   New project - Ultimate Toyota RV Rehab-20170319_144150.jpg  

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Old 03-19-2017, 10:16 AM   #2
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Hmm I think that would be sweet but why not just swap in a bigger engine?
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:38 PM   #3
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Fuel economy, authenticity for the era, and components that I have on hand. I'm partial to the durability of the early 20R/22R engines, and am wanting to keep the core drive train original equipment. 20R head swap, turbo are for moderate low-end pep, compression, and fuel mixing/cruising economy. The toyo-homes have a well observed tendency to get where the're going, but not always fast...

As for the RV remodel, anything with metal construction eventually dies the death of a million drips... And this one is well and truly dead, imo... If I'm going to rebuild the coach interior, wiring, and furnishings, I'm going to want it go last longer than the first monsoon season... So, more than 'Just a motor swap'. This is going to be more along the lines of a complete frame-up restoration/modification/rebuild...

Last edited by troyjmueller; 03-19-2017 at 07:21 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:42 PM   #4
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Very interesting. Ive been looking for a Toyota RV for a long time. Guess i will live vicariously thru you for the time being.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:41 PM   #5
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The RVs aren't that complicated. They just have a regular p.u. drive-train, modified cab (access cut-out), sometimes modified frame (mid-ships stretch, overhang extension), depending on the camper length, and usually framing in 1x lumber (for the older stuff). A lot of times the RV factories didn't really do a great job on quality design, mechanical modifications, or construction workmanship, or pay enough attention to the limitations of the chassis, hence the infamous dually axle recall.

I'm pretty sure that 9 out of 10 members here could build a custom setup 10x better. The tricky part is sourcing the full floating axle (any full floater should serve, but the 2wd rv/cab & chassis unit is a bit hard to find), if you are building heavy. Dedicated appliances can be found readily from overshot campers, dead full-size rvs from other chassis set-ups, or replaced with more portable units, if one is after a more basic dry-camping rig. The box is maybe 1.5x more difficult than a typical flat-bed to lay-out and frame, and would require more material...

But it really isn't that complicated. Just a lot of details...
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:18 PM   #6
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Here's an example of some less-than-stellar modifications; Picture from a stripped cab & chassis of identical year & make (1982 dolphin) that I was considering buying last summer. Note the re-located rear spring shackle and welding within the spring arch. Ask any knowledgeable trucker, engineer, or mechanic - this type of frame mod is an absolute no-go. They did it...
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New project - Ultimate Toyota RV Rehab-dolphinframehack.jpg   New project - Ultimate Toyota RV Rehab-dolphinframehack2.jpg  

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Old 03-20-2017, 01:52 AM   #7
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I understand that. I was thinking if you were to put this much work into it, you might as well have a motor that could get you anywhere without needing to floor it in 3rd gear on a hwy grade.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:25 AM   #8
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Most of the time, I've only had to drop 1 gear. Of course, that's from 4th (high) to 3rd (second highest), @ ~ 50mph climbing. For cruising, my opinion is low-end torque is king. Ideal situation would be a small diesel, or a torque-minded efficiency engine build (small valves, mild cam, moderate high comp piston/head combo, small turbo sized to spool early, and too small to build engine-blowing runaway boost. From what I read on the two recommended turbocharger guides, turbos really make torque, rather than horses...

90-ish hp is a bit doggy, what with that huge box and 1500 pounds plus of couch and kitchen sink, though... I figure about ~ 135ish hp should be about right. I remodel to cut the 90% of the crappy cabinetry, keep thinks light like this rig...

Bajadulce's build @ http://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/in...-sawzall-down/

and the small engine shouldn't be too bad. Besides, who wants to be doing 90mph with a sail-side area like that and not much weight? Besides, I kind of like 20+ mpg. Last road-trip I made with this rig, I went ~ 220 miles on 11 gallons of fuel.

If I was to swap motors for cubes, I'd be tempted with a hybrid ford 244cid v8 small block setup, 255 block, pistons, heads, 289 crank & rods, in front of a manual gearbox. BUT, I don't have parts for that, or the appropriate small (and uber rare) diesel work-horse torque monsters out there...

The 22R/20R hybrid motor isn't too bad in that area, and coupled with the early double row timing chain should be nearly as bulletproof as the stock build. High comp, low boost would make for use of wasted exhaust power, but shouldn't destroy the engine, and should the turbo fail, It wouldn't turn into a 60hp dog due to insanely low static compression. I figure I can live with a bit of lag, as I'd still have the low-end performance of a NA hybrid motor. Plus, I already have the parts on hand. I have several buildable blocks of both 22R & 20R, a chrysler 2.2L turbocharger, serveral keihin side-draft carburetor set-ups. It's mainly a matter of fabrication and assembly time...

My main issue (and reason for tackling this not-so-small project) is with the condition of the interior, the poor exterior design philosophy, and the fubared frame work, all of which I believe to be within my ability to fix, and fix RIGHT... And the coolness/rarity/customization factor of 4x4 and RV together...
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Old 04-09-2017, 02:19 PM   #9
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I've been driving the Dolphin as a daily driver for the last few weeks, blowing the cobwebs out of the drive train & clearing up the tank of 2 year old gas it had in it. I got ambitious, started pulling out old, rotten cupboads & cabinetry. Also been thinking of options, as for rebuild. I've got my eye on a parts camper, similar to my other motor home, and I've been considering modifying the cab a bit, resulting in a (not factory available for the 1st generation) extended-cab. Here's a bit of Photo-Chop, from a pic of my other RV. Workable, maybe, or just fugly?
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Old 04-09-2017, 02:21 PM   #10
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Accidental double-post.

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Old 04-09-2017, 04:47 PM   #11
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Extra space is always good. It would be cool if you could find the extra cab panels with the windows at a junkyard or a parts truck
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Old 04-09-2017, 08:16 PM   #12
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I think it will be awesome! It would be a lot of work but it will be a cool project. I guess you would have to find out what kind of wheels fit on a Toyota solid axle that were 14 inch, and then probably just get big 14 inch tires. I think the 4x4 will be great! but I do think it will take a significant amount of you fuel economy and power away from you. The 2wd trucks I have driven with a 22r are much faster and better on gas than the 4x4 trucks with the same motor, I assume it is the same on a motor home. I always thought it would be cool to make a 4x4 yota rv with a 3.4 swap, but I realize that swapping in a different motor opens up a lot more work forthe project.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:03 PM   #13
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Had a busy week. Got the replacement Coach Body. 1,300 miles over the last week. Donor is a rusted out 21' 1983 Sunrader Motorhome that had been sitting neglected for the last 15 years in the coastal rain and salt air. Good thing fiberglass doesn't rust... One of the very few RV coach builders that used a molded fiberglass shell in the construction. The trip was something else...

It's going to be fun fixing the factory installed holes in the roof, and some of the accumulated damage and sagging that this make is prone to, but I'm hoping to build a real gem.

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Old 05-20-2017, 03:16 AM   #14
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Some pics of the parts rig getting ready to come home. Looks a bit funny, but the box is mostly air.
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