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Old 09-18-2018, 02:37 PM
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Teching out / Hacking a Toyota RV

Hi, I'm new. I just got myself one of these:

Due to some slightly unfortunate circumstances, I plan to use it as a daily driver and live in it, but that's not the point. I'm gonna make the best of it, try to learn something about my vehicle, and keep it running well. Someone has already pointed out I should investigate doing something about the front axle/wheels since they're 5-lug not six, and it'd be better to have one spare that fits everything.

Even though I'm rather car-stupid, I'm technologically inclined (huge computer nerd) and I have some cool ideas for hacking up the dash and turning it into something neat, kind of like my own version of the Prius information display. I can twist wires and replace minor things. (update: I created a thread for that project)

I'm planning at least a few trips around the US and through Canada. If anyone wants to check it out when I'm going through their area, eventually I'll have a way to track it so you can PM me and look at the mods/etc, should you want to. I think it will be a lot of fun! Let me know if you have any questions!

Last edited by UGR; 09-19-2018 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:18 AM
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Welcome! How's the interior look? I haven't ever seen that brand of Yoterhome.
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:19 AM
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Thanks Jake! I did a pile of research before ending up with this one... there are apparently like 40 different toyhome brands and a bunch of them failed. I dunno if you know the story but folks started building these up in the 70s and basically they used to just be regular 4-wheel motorhomes... I'm sure you know how these are built -- someone buys a chassis and then just welds a box to it -- but anyway they started making them larger and more deluxe and the back axle couldn't support the weight of the box. In the early 80s they got way popular and then suddenly we saw a whole ton of failures and toyota didn't want to replace the axle because of some sort of drama, and eventually NHTSA recalled and folks got themselves a brand spankin' new dually for the back. Some of the MH companies saw this coming and produced dually models, and anyone that gave a flying duck replaced their axle.

Point of the long story other than that I talk a lot is: my understanding is a lot of the toyhome brands that failed probably couldn't keep up with the recall and failures and whatnot, and went under. Obviously Winnebago and Coachmen are still around but even some of the mighty have fallen. It's possible there are tons of brands that did a few and failed right away, and we never heard from them again...

This thing seems to be a hybrid of Coachmen and Travelmaster. I know Travelmaster built other non-toyhomes, too. Perhaps Travelmaster sourced parts from Coachmen, I'm not sure, but anyway a lot of the parts seem to be original (just replaced the speakers, and the old factory ones were in there)! I have at least two coachmen badges on various things in my motorhome. You don't want to know how much fun it is trying to register/inspect these at the DMV

The interior is uh... "80's rustic", to say the least, but pretty nice.


As far as I can research the truck chassis is a "Deluxe Regular" trim, which sounds like an oxymoron, but who am I to argue lol. Now folks can (probably) see why I want to replace the dash cluster.


Here's a shot towards the rear, it's kinda hard to tell in the pic but the dinette goes all the way around so you can get like 5-6 people around the table if they wanna get cozy, kinda cool. Closet and fridge on the right there.


Shot towards the front. Bathroom door on the left. Stove has an oven, a true requirement for pizza on the road! The block on the stove and the foam pad/wood on the floor keep it from banging around a lot while driving around.

Anyhow, that's the tour! Hope you enjoyed =]
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:26 AM
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That things to be in decent shape
I have helped part out 3 of the 80-90'ish Toyota mini motorhomes. Take a close inspection of your rear frame and how your water and waste tanks are mounted. Check for rust etc to make sure they are in still good shape.
some of the conversion companies must have been a Division of Fly By Night Industries because some of the frame extensions and mounts were not exactly what you might call sound designs or well thought out. Hack job is the best way to describe them

that truck is just begging for a 3.4 conversion!
Good luck!
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for the tips, Robb!

My mechanic took a very quick peek and said things look pretty good but I'll ask him if we can get it up in the air and take a closer look. A lot of MH companies definitely ghetto-rigged their stuff. We're blown away at how well this one appears to have held up over the years - the thing only has 32K miles I know that the transmission was replaced a year ago. It's now a 4spd OD, but if I ever have to replace it again I'm putting a 5-speed back in! We are pretty sure the engine miles are original (DMV disagrees, I'm still trying to get all of that story). I've never before driven a vehicle where you turn the key and the engine is already on (click-vroom, not catch-catch-catch-vroom). I'm also pretty sure it was garaged for awhile and taken out seasonally at most. But now it's time for it to really see the world!

Sadly, no exciting conversions for me, I can't really afford it! The reason I'm getting this motorhome is that the rent is too damn high; I'm a musician by trade so that means I'm perpetually poor haha. My main goals for this thing as it will be travelling a lot are to keep it comfortable, dependable, and good on gas. And hopefully folks can help me with my black box project!

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Old 09-19-2018, 01:20 PM
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I hear you on the budget part!
good luck!
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:53 PM
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YES!!!! I love the 80s interior. Looks like it was pretty well cared for/barely used. The rear dinette is one of the more sought after versions.
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