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flipper the 87 dolphin

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About flipper the 87 dolphin

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  • Gender
    From Outerspace
  • Interests
    stuff that I enjoy! Radio controlled trucks. photography. camping. helping people. I feel like a rising tide lifts all ships. also as inhabitants of the great spaceship earth we should try to steer it towards a better place for all passengers not just those in first class.

Previous Fields

  • My Toyota Motorhome
    1987 Dolphin by National RV
  • Location
    far away from me in the big city.

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347 profile views
  1. greetings! I have a thought or two to share. first. I also have an 87 toy dolphin. great things they are! the issue of leaning. I think that the factory National RV in Cali put triangular gusset supports along only one side of the rig. the side that is intended to hold the generator. if you have no extra weight from that system the side will be higher. I have no idea why they would only support one side the extra weight to weld in additional gussets is not alot. my dolphin appears to tilt even with the airbags properly filled and parked on flat level surface. if you have the means and tools the coach could be removed and the frame resupported. but oh lord that would take a huge amount of effort. So a quick reasonable fix may be to go to an auto parts supplier or trailer supplier and put an 'add-a-leaf' to your leaf springs along the lower side. the other thing. ride control and comfort. the Air bags are prone to wear as they are rubber. there is a company in Arizona. 3-T's rv, they make the air bag systems and also sell rebuild kits for cheaper. the whole kit will come with brackets for mounting the bags. you do not need the whole kit as you have mounting hardware already. they sold me a kit and provided good support to help me. one of the bags had developed a leak and would not fill. they sent me another for free. but now I have to get rid of the new bad one. small price to pay throw away the bad part for a new one that they shipped. I hope that I have helped and travel well! have good camping times!
  2. there are some really cheap easy things that any one can do. if you want to update the interior. the old wooden siding can be covered with gesso. available at any art store or online. then you can paint the existing siding with any color that fancies you. if you do not like the formica countertops you can seek out contact paper and cover the counters. there are plenty of vids on the you tube . my friend has a Minnie Winnie and he and his wife live in it full time. they took out the original curtains and put in fresh ones basically out of sheets cut into strips. this totally changes the interior look. they also removed the cabinet doors and painted them various single color blocks. small changes are easy and can be done over a weekend. if you want to add solar the systems start out about 1000 dollars and they can take more time to install. the first thing that I did was to remove the aged carpet and install vinyl wood flooring that I had gotten from the habitat for humanity restore. I used 2 boxes. got em for about 15 dollars and installed in a day. good luck and have fun with it! Best of luck.
  3. I found a fellow in Wheatridge Colorado. ECU repair dot com I believe. he charged me about 180. guaranteed it two years unlimited mileage. I am sorry I do not have his contact info right now as my rig is back in the centennial state and I am currently assisting my 90 YO grandmother in NYC. I found one in Bakersfield CA but the salvage yard was unwilling to ship but that was back in JUNE. Yoda Jims in Denver also had several units. you have the factory number 35040. and this should help you. check the ebay and ask around. this site has great folk and many minds working towards the same goal. to keep these things on the road and in our favorite vacation spots. Best of Luck and we hope to see you out there! What makes you sure that it is the point of failure? my rig had a super dim check engine light and after hunting down parts and replacements the new unit still gave me trouble until I got out the old trusty voltmeter and discovered that the ECU was not properly grounding. check the lines first. in my case the brown wire coming out of the ECU was supposed to become a white wire somewhere and once I discovered that there was a problem and tapped into the line, soldiered and shrink wrap to keep moisture out, then fresh ground. Bam problem solved! of course that is only one problem of many. I am still working on Flipper. but hope to be back home soon to sort my other laundry list of maintenance that was neglected by previous owners. Good Luck friend!
  4. UPDATE on my dimly lit CEL. the ECU turns out had a poor ground and this was causing a draw on the system when it was off. but when I turned the key the voltage plummeted from the ignition. it would turn and fire but not run. so my father helped me to splice in and soldier a fresh ground. now when I turn the key the dash lights up as it should. the ECU ground was a small brown wire and it was supposed to change into a different color somewhere. but once tapped into and grounded Success abounds.
  5. i think that sounds likely! the trans sounds just like that it is not upshifting to the next range. are there 'dummy' checks for the linkages? could it be my cable travelling down the drivers side into the tranny? of course I do not have a smarty phone and my digital camera files are too large to just drop here. and thank you maineah. I hope to be able to meet more enthusiasts during toy jamborees or some such. good folk! a certain kind of character likes these vehicles. I think I will have to make a vinyl sticker that is the hitchhikers guide "DON'T PANIC" just to remind myself. Yes I think that the cable does have slack at idle. but It is stored for the cold season. can I interweb videos to adjust the cable?
  6. I have finally and painstakingly installed a new block. oh she purrs. but alas I am not done. the new problem is transmission related I suspect. the issue is while driving acceleration does not match the revolutions as it should. the motor roars but the trans eeks along. last driven a quarter mile in the Colorado in the city. travelling on flat surface the gas pushed to the floor(not really) the truck tops out at 35 mph and the engine sounds like it is roaring at about 3500 rpm. I have parked it for the season but I fear that I will have to rebuild or replace the transmission. I am not ready to take this next project on. please any info on buying, maintaining or replacing the A43D transmission. my Rig is a 1987 Dolphin with the 22re and A43D. Thanks y'all
  7. I have an update on Flipper. so far the problem was the lack of a CEL or Check engine light. currently I have a very weak light. so weak that you can not see it against the light of day. only when it is dark is it visible. I know that it has the potential of strong illumination. I have tried so many things and have had such little actual result. so far I have installed the injector solenoid relay, new igniter and coil, replaced the relays and fuses , most recent an ignition starter switch. All of this has been done since I started the engine replacement back in feburary. and so much more. the truck chassis has been nearly restored but the problems persist. Main problem 1 is that the new motor sill not run. it will fire up on the key the first try and dies instantly within a second. then it will not fire again for a moment. Main problem 2 is the Check Engine Light. it still does not give me the brightness that I know it should during the pre start situation. it does light up (hurray) although it is very weak. I can run the diagnostic and the code reads 6 and 12. Main problem 3 is there is a mystery 3v draw on the system when it is parked. so I have taken to removing the battery cable when parking it. If any of this sounds familiar please do contact me. I need help. the poor beast has been in my buddies pole barn for half a year and it is driving me crazy instead of driving me to national parks. My Nikon camera has taken many pics but the file size is too large to attach. I may try to make a pdf or something. Keep it rubber side down and have fun!
  8. correct sir! new cast motor not a rebuilt old block. also correct sir the CEL does not come on at all. not even if I jump the wire into the Diagnostic slot. could the instrument panel circuit go bad? i do not have spare ECU to plug and test. but i am happy to accept input or ideas.
  9. I have no Check Engine Light! The FSM tells me how to test the ECU unit with a multi meter. but the normal operation should have the light engage when I turn the key and off after I start it. I have had the ECU unit rebuilt. but I have not retested the new part. I guess I will do that next. but first let me bring you up to speed. i have just installed a new block and tried to button up all of the electricals. There is no check engine light. I have looked at the fuses they are good or at least they look good. I have checked the big relay fuses in the engine bay. relays intact and showing 0 ohms resistance. I have pulled and switched the bulbs in the instrument cluster. the bulbs are good. charged the battery and tested the voltage it holds 12.8v or so. the fuel tank has 1/2 full fuel. the ignition fires. spark comes through the coil into the distributor down the lines into new plugs. timing has been set and double checked. my rig is A/T and it will crank in P or N but not the drive gears. FSM testing of the Ignition coil seems like there is low voltage if testing from the Positive side to the hole in the middle. It cranks but not as strong as I would like. it fires up on the first turn of the key but does not run. second try it fires and dies. third try it does not want to fire again. could I have a bad fuel pump or relay? If the Check Engine light does not engage is still should run though right? just poorly? if I could get the ECU to talk to me I could fix the physical problems but electricity is my nemesis. Please help me and flipper to get moving again! it is the season to explore and visit!
  10. Greetings all! I have had a recent bit of frustration. I got a new block for the dolphin. then after so many hours of banging my head and installing the engine. the ECU has died. I used the FSM and a voltmeter to check the unit. there were several failures including no check engine light also the Fuel relay not receiving the correct voltage. the part is available through the local parts store but the price is close to 500 dollars. so that just hurts my feelers. I did a bit of searching and found of in Bakersfield CA. and ebay the price was around 180-200 for a 30 year old used unit. I like that ideally because they are factory built components and I feel they were of a good quality. and through further interwebs research I found a guy online who rebuilds the ECU for many things out of his garage in Arvada Colorado. I dropped off my ecu one week ago and just got it back. the damage was 200 and he offers an unlimited mileage and one year warranty. so soon, oh so soon I hope to have Flipper back on the road from scenic locale to scenic locale.. I do not know what the policy is here for advertising or promotion so I will not put the contact number here unless it is wanted. would be my pleasure to help another enthusiast. also there is a motor builder out of Colorado springs Colorado whom builds the engines from new castings. but he does not want to warranty the motor because it is under tow loads from minute one. bless all and have a great day. oh and be the positive change that you want to see in the world. :)
  11. thank you linda I think that is the stuff. I added a few pictures of the bad material to show the problem better.
  12. nearly all of the gaskets on the exterior of my rig are in terrible condition. where do I go to find fresh rubbers? I think the windows were made by topo chico. if that helps. Edited 3/10/18, I guess topo chico is bottled water. I don't know why I was thinking that they did windows. turns out there are no makers markings on the coach window. I intend to add pictures but my file size is too large for here. I will adjust and attempt to resubmit.
  13. I was able to access the fly wheel through the starter hole and then rotated the wheel about 15 teeth to reach each bolt through the port at the bottom. the old motor is still in. the bolts are out. I am just worried about damaging the torque converter or draining the fluids all over myself or into the work area.. my digi camera is taking photos so large that this forum will not allow me to download. I may try to reduce file size and that may help. the only other time I have done a motor swap. it was a remove and replace with a manual trans. but that was a mitsu truck and also quite a while ago. the engine is loosed at the bellhousing and the engine mounts. the trans is supported by a jack. the hoist is ready to roll into the area.
  14. I just bought my first RV an 87 Dolphin. I dubbed it Flipper. I got the unit in july of last year. this janurary I cooked the motor after installing a new alternator and failed to tighten the fan bolts to spec. the motor threw a chunk of the rod through the drivers side of the block. so I have gotten a new block. it will need to have all of the brackets , sensors and bits removed from the old block to attach to the new. any help would be great! I am currently at the stage in removing the old motor whereby I have to separate the flexplate or driveplate from the torque converter in the transmission to get the old block out. are there any armchair mechanics who have done this? the book that I have said to cut the head off of 2 bolts to use them as fulcrum to rotate the plate to remove the 6 bolts. they are out. how do I split the bellhouse from the trans?
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