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  1. I'm dreaming of a slow creep across the country. Really slow. I don't want to reach the snow belt till spring. I only want to spend 4 hours a day driving on any given day, and not every day. I want to stay in FHU type places with intervals of dry camping, not too remote. And mostly, I want to be able to drive 45 - 60 mph without some Corolla goosing my bumper, and travel the flattest route even if it is not the most direct. Avoid cities. Eschew dirt roads. Somewhere in the middle there are some polite transits for wide-bodied vehicles. In this case, a modest little 87 Dolphin. But where are they? I have driven across these United States a dozen times, all solo, sometimes well-planned, sometimes "go west young woman." I know how to plan a trip. But avoiding steep mountain passes has never been a goal before. What do you know, fellow RV denizens, about the low roads in Winter? Starting in Oxnard CA and ending in Brattleboro VT. One small dog as passenger. Short term Workamper or RV camp jobs (yes I'm registered on those sites) along the way welcome. Any suggestions for routes and destinations are welcome. And if this has already been covered in the archives, that's welcome too. Thanks!
  2. (I've edited this to reflect some changes in my plans, based on the feedback of the community! I'll keep doing so as the plan evolves.) Hi Everyone! Following is a pretty...let's say "thorough" project description. I'm just starting out. This is my first project vehicle, my first RV, and my first project home of any kind in 20+ years of adulthood. Originally, I was going to purchase a cargo van and convert it, per, well, everyone else these days. Then I discovered Toyota motorhomes, and I fell in love. I had a friend who is a collector, and he was selling this Micro...I had to have her! What follows is a highly detailed description of my plans. I'll post project updates here, but I'm also going to have a Facebook Page and an Instagram (@adaringloss) for my friends and family to track the project. No, I won't be doing the typical "#vanlife" thing. I'm not interested in being social media famous. I'm shrinking my life, not trying to further complicate it. I'll try to organize this as clearly as possible, in a way that makes sense. I'm posting it for the ultra-curious, the ultra-nerdy, who may actually be interested in a pretty comprehensive description of my plans. Live vicariously through me, if you like, and relive your first project! Offer advice, ask questions, make stray observations. I'm learning as I go, so I welcome input! Overview I've lived in Colorado for 12 years, somehow without a weekender. Yes, yes, I know. Shame on me. I've just sort of used my Subaru for that purpose, but crawling into a back seat to sleep is getting old. However, having a weekender isn't my only motivation. I also want a home; yes, I want to live in this camper. At least for a little while. I travel for a living producing triathlons–about 20 per year–and I'd like to work a season from the road, rather than the air. My overall goal is to keep as much of the original structure and layout as makes sense while updating this lovely motorhome to meet both my tastes as well as modern aesthetics. (I'd like to continue to be inspired by the coach's original design, of course.) I'll be adding some modern conveniences, and generally making this "camper" a home. There are some small issues, as is to be expected with any 40-year-old vehicle or home. But she runs. Most stuff works. And she's mine. Name "Saoirse" (Pronounced "SER shuh"...it's Irish. It means "freedom".) Model 1978 Dolphin Micro Mini, 200, 20R Goals Keep as much of the original design intact as makes sense. Update the look and feel of the coach interior to feel more like a "home". Add some features and modern conveniences. Repair known issues so that both the camper and coach are in good working order. Desired Features & Modifications (This list is loooooonnng...) Important to Me Updated to power receptacles that include USB ports. All lights converted to LED. Addition of an inside/outside shower. (Designs and updates forthcoming.) Existing toilet replaced with a DIY composting toiled. (Again, designs and updates forthcoming...let's just assume that, shall we?) Standing platform on roof. After feedback from the community, it's become clear that this is simply a bad idea! Not going to do it. Rooftop cargo box. (After feedback, I will ensure that this is very small, and weighs no more than 50lb/22kg total weight.) Addition of an awning. Rear bike rack. Smoke, CO2, & Gas Leak detectors. Improved vent fans. Well, currently, all three are missing, so ANY vents will be an upgrade, technically. I just want thermostat-controlled fans. Hooks for bags gear, and tying off lines on both interior and exterior. Magnetic closures for everything. Compartmentalized storage solutions for shelves and cabinets. Table with a roadmap of US glossed on top. Table and benches convert to bed and sofa. Tinted windows. Removable insert for bunk, to make it a full-size bed when desired. Retractable clothesline. Message board. Pretty low-tech, but still... Rear backup camera. Not As Important, Still Desired Adding a solar power option for lengthy off-grid trips. Decent navigation/control center console added to cab. Bumper storage box. (Lighter, so as to not significantly add weight or affect weight distribution.) Multi-configuration audio system. Addition of a TV and media center. This is a big one for me. I'm very excited about my plan for this. Pull-out step and hand rail for people who need a little extra help getting into the coach. Dimmable/color changing LED interior lights. Loud horn to match her personality. Chalks, jack stands, & jack mounted to bottom of coach. (There is room.) Near blackout capability with velcro-mounted blackout curtains. Cell & WiFi signal boosters. Skylight above sleeping platform. Add aftermarket auto locks to doors. Add stuff to reduce engine noise when driving. Maybe Someday Swap the current 4-cylinder 20R with a 6-cylinder Toyota engine. 4WD conversion, including upgrades to suspension. A friend strongly recommended avoiding this conversion, and I agree, based on his feedback. Leveling functionality added to suspension. This is probably not worth the investment on such a small vehicle. Aftermarket cruise control. Exterior motion-activated security lights over doors. Design Aesthetic Exterior will eventually be a satin grey, with white detailing. (Better for boondocking; I don't want the camper to stand out.) I'd like to add exterior LED's where appropriate, so that when I want, the camper is highly visible. Switch them off, when I don't want it to be. Inside, I plan on going white, white, white. With lime green, deep red, and charcoal accents. The floor will be black hardwood (or more likely, laminate). I'll be preferring natural materials, as all considerations allow. Form follows function in something like this, IMHO, with weight being my chief concern. I'd like to throw in subtle flourishes. For example, a tiny hanging lamp over the table, and glow-in-the-dark stars painted on the ceiling. I'm currently reviewing many, many "hacks" to see what ingenuity I'd like to integrate into my home. Phases Now, I know what you're thinking: That's a LOT of stuff, Dan. You've bitten off more than you can chew. Seriously, dude. Don't worry, I was born, but I wasn't born yesterday. I know it's a lot, and as such, not only have I prioritized this stuff accordingly, but I've also divided it into project phases, to make it more manageable. I also know that my plan is loosely scheduled over 2 years–though I'm aware that these things often take twice as long to complete, as best laid plans are typically insufficient. I'm also aware that some of these things will be easy, some will be difficult, and some will be impossible. Or at least feel that way. Lots of research needed, and if I hit the mark of even 80% of this stuff, I'll feel like it's a raging success. 1. Study I'm currently in this phase. I'm learning everything I can about the RV. I'm documenting, measuring, writing, planning...hours and hours of just learning. 2. Phase 1A - Get It Running & Livable (Before Christmas of '17) The focus is on making sure that the truck itself is running really well. I'm flushing fluids, updating wear parts (pads, belts, etc.), and making sure that the roof doesn't leak. Because it does. Based on feedback, the roof is first, then mechanical, then I'll move on to other stuff. 3. Phase 1B - Get It Running & Livable (Before March of '18) Yes, I still consider this part of Phase 1, it's just the non-critical stuff to get it "running & livable". Make sure the heat, water, & toilet work, that sort of thing. 4. Phase 2 - Add Some Creature Comforts & Pretty Her Up (Before March of '19) Several of my functional mods will happen in this part. This is all about making Saoirse my own. 5. Phase 3 - Trick This Bad Girl OUT (Before March of '20) My fancy-schmancy, really non-essential stuff happens here. TV, sound system, etc. Major Modifications So, the word "Major" is probably somewhat hyperbolic here, but relative to everything I want to do, these are as "major" as I get. Bathroom - Add a shower, replace toilet with composting. This one's only slightly ambitious, but also rather simple. I'm planning on removing the existing toilet (It will be for sale...), the black water tank (ditto), and building a much smaller, DIY composting toilet against the back wall of the bathroom. Yes, I've heavily researched the ups and downs of composting vs. black water, and I'm sold on the former, though I'm always convincible by a well-thought-out argument and/or the voice of extensive experience. The space where the black water tank is currently will become the housing for my solar batteries, should I pursue that in the future. Once the toilet's replaced, I plan on adding a freshwater tank to the top of the camper, and running a gravity fed shower line into the bathroom running a line from the freshwater tank, and pumping water to a shower head in the bathroom. I will, of course, waterproof the entire bathroom. My plan at this time is to drain to the ground, and only use the shower where that is appropriate, and also only use biodegradable, environmentally safe cleaning products. I can easily be convinced that this is a bad idea, of course, and instead plumb my drain to the grey water tank. Table, Benches = Bed, Sofa This is actually not an original idea, and there are multiple plans and products to make this happen. From my photos, you can see the configuration in the rear, with to benches on either side of the coach, facing each other. The original floorpan design called for a shelf-mounted table between them. Instead, I plan on mounting a telescoping table base, on top of which I'll affix a solid plywood table, with a roadmap of the US on it (should I expatriate my camper, I'll swap table tops) for dreaming and making general route plans with wet-erase markers. With the flip of a switch, this table will then lower, forming a solid contiguous base with the benches. The pads on the benches will slide forward, creating a cushy bed. Add some throw pillows, and you have yourself a sofa for viewing... Media Center, My Magnum Opus I don't have a diagram (yet), as it's all in my head. So words will have to suffice until I tackle this project, which will likely not be for another year. So patience is a virtue, even though I'm incredibly excited about it! I can't wait to share it with you as I'm building it. Imagine a track, perpendicular to the camper, mounted and centered above the sleeping compartment, starboard side. Attached to that track is a hinged TV mount, on a swivel. The TV, once mounted, can be swung to the ceiling, slid forward and backward, and also rotate. The idea is that if you are in the sleeping compartment, you can lower the TV, and slide it against the starboard wall for watching movies. If you have a guest, and would prefer to watch from the sofa mentioned above, it can slide forward, and rotate to face the rear of the camper. My sound system, mentioned in the desired features above, can be configured for either viewing scenario. The TV can also be stowed securely against the ceiling, and I will be designing a padded, waterproof sleeve for the it, for cases of possible leakage. This entire system will be powered by shore power, obviously, though I could run it off of batteries in case of emergency. Like, if I absolutely must watch the rest of a Stranger Things episode. I love this concept, because it flies in the face of going completely off-grid, somewhat. I'm very outdoorsy, and spend the vast majority of my time outside playing in the snow and the mountains I love. However, I love, when the time calls for it, curling up and watching a movie. This gives me that option, and will be completely unexpected in a retro, compact motorhome. Known Issues Despite being in very good condition, there are some known issues that will need to be addressed. Important AND Urgent Some water damage on the interior of the coach. Because of vandalism after I bought it, one of the side windows and the rear window are broken out. Not currently lockable (seriously). No ignition key on the steering column. It's currently rigged to be hot wired each time you start it. All three roof vents are missing. At least one of the batteries is bad. Both may be. Both the fuel level and temperature gauges are broken. It's burning oil. I've been informed this is a coolant leak! The driver's side mirror is missing. NOT Urgent Seat upholstery in the cab is torn. Light rust and small dents on body. Small cracks in windshield. There are synchro issues when shifting. Idles just a tad high. There's a leaky fuel filter. Windshield wiper motor is very weak. The headlights are super dim. Engine noise isn't mitigated well. Conclusion Yes, this is a beast of a project. Each of those bullet points above will potentially require hours of research, hours of planning, and hours of implementation. I have no delusions of being able to do this in a weekend or 5 weekends or 50 weekends. I know that this is a multi-year project, but it will be a labor of love that I enjoy immensely, even when I hate it. The camper is currently parked at my parents' house in rural, eastern Ohio. I have access to tools and materials here. I travel for a living, so I'm able to be here often, between gigs, focussing on the renovation. I'm going to knock out Phase 1A from above before Christmas...as well as Phase 1B if the gods look kindly on me. I've attached a series of "before" pictures, that I've taken over the last couple of days. Enjoy, if you like. I said it above, and I'll say it again: Advice, observations, and questions are welcome!
  3. Hi! I'm the new owner of a 1978 Dolphin Micro Mini, which I'll be remodeling over the next few months. I'm so excited to start this journey! I have the Haynes manual (for the Hilux pickup), but I don't have a manual for the RV itself. I've looked through the files over at the Yahoo! forums, and I spent the better part of a few afternoons searching the web, only to find that all roads point back to here. Would any of you have access to this manual? Or perhaps a model similar enough that it would help me as I'm respectfully updating this amazing classic? Thanks so much!
  4. My partner and I are hoping to hit the road for several years this coming spring following the end of her graduate degree. We've been looking for a Dolphin. We don't necessarily plan to do an overly large amount of driving, and we don't really mind going at a leisurely place. We stumbled upon a 1986 4 Cylinder Automatic with 80,000 miles with nice condition interior. I have yet to test-drive it or inspect it myself (but have photos of it; the owner seems trustworthy enough); I am hoping to do so this week. Seller says they are third owner and that they are sad to part with it; it has Washington plates. Questions: --What things should I look for when inspecting it? --What things should I look/listen/test for when driving it? --It's being listed for $6,000 dollars. Is this a fair price? (This is pushing our budget, unfortunately). Is there a lower amount that would be considered a fair offer? --Is there a ballpark amount of money can I expect to put in with regard to maintenance initially? --We're outdoorsy people, and we're used to tent camping when we road trip; if we're spending longer periods of time in BLM sites with long term permits (i.e. it's parked for 1-2 weeks at a time), I am thinking that in that case we would take it out for weekend jaunts. Would this be harmful to the vehicle/not advisable? Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer! I am a newbie to Toyota RVs in general; really nice forum you've all got here. Cheers from Arizona.
  5. I am sad to be moving on from my camper adventuring days, but optimistic that this gem can get in the hands of someone else that can enjoy it to its fullest!The "Ponty" is a 1977 Pontiex Pont-X SR-2. The model is somewhat similar to the slightly more common Toyota Chinook. It is very rare and unique and I have only found four other ones in my extensive internet research. The camper company would buy truck cabs from Toyota, build out the campers and then resell them. Its total length is 16.5 feet. Which means you can have what feels like a pretty spacious living area and still fit into a normal parking space!The camper is 40 years strong. It has been on trips all over the Western US and driven across country. In the transitional period as I look for a more practical car, it is has been my daily commuter. Here's a bit about the truck part:To start off it's on a Toyota Truck cab. They were pretty common and you still see a lot of them on the road. They are mechanically straightforward and easy to work on and get parts for still. The truck features the well-regarded 20r engine. I recently rebuilt the heads and the engine is in top shape. The odometer reads 28,000, but only reads 5 digits, so my best guess would be that it has 128k miles on it (possible 228k). It was a 4 speed manual that I upgraded to a 5 speed. Top speed is about 65mph on the highway, more like 45mph going up a hill (depending on how weighted down you are). Not the best vehicle if you're trying to get anywhere in a hurry. I've have been averaging about 17mpg. Pretty good for a home on wheels! Up front it has a cassette player that I never felt the need to upgrade because it has an AUX input, a house speaker hooked up to the radio, seats and dash in pretty good condition for its age (some cracks on the dash and in driver's seat). I recently replaced the carpet in the cab so that is looking pretty spiffy. There are two batteries, a car battery and a house battery with an isolator that keeps the house battery use from draining the car battery. Both batteries are less than 2 years old. The Camper:On the port side there is a table that seats four tightly and drops down for a bed. Underneath one of the benches is a storage space and a water tank under the other. On the starboard side there is a closet with many drawers and storage. The kitchen features a three burner propane Coleman stove with an oven (pretty rare to have an oven in a camper), an icebox fridge (could be upgraded to a mini-fridge but I generally did 6 day adventures at a time so I just got a block of ice), a sink with a pump that brings water from the tank below one of the benches and drains into a grey water tank underneath. There is a fuse box where you can flip a switch to plug straight into electricity if you're at home or at a campground or you can run off the house battery. I put an inverter in so that you can run a laptop and other electronics through it. I also put in a Fantastic Fan Vent that works really well for controlling temps. It has a sensor that closes when it senses rain. Above the cab is another sleeping space or space for storage. You can slide it back and remove a cushion to create more open space. There's also an open flame propane heater. One of the defining features of this camper is its HUGE windows. The full fiberglass shell means that it is safe from much of the leaking damage that many older campers see. Upgrades that have occurred in the last 5 years of ownership• 7 new tires (duallys and a spare)• Rebuilt engine heads• Upgrade from 4 speed to a 5 speed w50 transmission• Clutch• Alternator• Rear differential• Brakes• Rebuilt rear axle and u-joints• Interstate batteries for house and car• Custom carpet in the cab• 350 watt inverter to run electronics• Fantastic Fan Vent for ventilation• Many other small upgradesUpgrades currently undone:• Gas gauge is broken (I never fixed it is because the needle pops up from the other side when there is a few gallons left, plus I have a 5 gallon reserve tank so that always worked for me)• When starting, the engine typically turns over a bit longer than normal, especially when it's cold. It always starts so I haven't looked into it yet but I suspect it could be a carburetor cleaning or rebuild.• The blower in the cab works but doesn't blow heat. Haven't looked into what it needs to work properly.• Some rust showing on the rocker panels and on the hood of the truck (It lived in Nevada and Colorado for all of it's known life. I only brought it to Vermont last year and did not drive it through the winter.)• Lots of little things that could be done if desired to add a personal touch (New curtains? Cushions? Radio/sound? Paint? Solar? Etc.)I'm really looking for the right buyer for this amazing vehicle. I have been burned on internet car sales before and I want to make sure that the buyer has every piece of information they need and walks away happy. Feel free to contact me with any questions, more pictures, etc. $8900. I am looking to upgrade to a Toyota Tacoma and would be willing to consider trades. I'm in no rush to sell so no need to send low-ball offers. It hasn't been updated in a while, but if you want to read about some of this camper's adventures you can check out my blog: https://pontxadventures.wordpress.com/Thanks for looking!Mischa
  6. This Dolphin was purchased less than a year ago, in August 2015. Renovation began immediately, with complete removal and replacement of the floors, upholstery, refrigerator, toilet, kitchen countertop, swivel chair, lights (to LED), cushions, handles & hinges, curtains/blinds, and new paint throughout. It's gone from 80's style to modern in 3 months of renovations. We had it completely re-plumbed and we resealed the roof. We worked day and night to make it our own (total DIY)! Enjoy looking through the before and after pictures of our project. Let us know if you have any questions, we'd be happy to answer them!! Thanks for looking! B&B
  7. 87 DOLPHIN

    HI, new to the RVing world. Have the opportunity to get a 4 cyl Dolphin with 46k miles for $7k. I don't have a lot of details (not listed, for sale by the side of the road). It does not have an alternator or cabin AC. Does it seem like a good deal, provided everything works? I realize it may need new tires/rubber replaced. It does have 6 lug rear axle. Appreciate all the advice in advance. DL
  8. I currently have a 78' Toyota chassis that used to have a camper shell on her, but the previous owner tore it off. Looking to buy a new camper shell for her now that the restoration process is almost complete. Please contact me if you can help me out. Thanks a lot
  9. I recently purchased an 86 dolphin. We are renovating it currently. Our model has the two club chairs and small table in lieu of a dinette. Has anyone done this before? Any reason not too? To me a dinette seems more practice than the club chairs. Here is a picture of what I'm dealing with lol. I have both the chairs and the base box out now. Everything is currently stripped to the plywood. Any input is appreciated. Thanks!
  10. Hey all, I have a 1985 Dolphin with 60,xxx miles that I've owned for a couple years and I put half of that mileage on. This rig has been the most reliable vehicle that I've owned and have driven it coast to coast 6 times. I am an experienced tradesman and I recently endeavored on some minor repairs. Well you can guess what happens next...I have totally gutted this vehicle to find that practically every popsicle stick they put it together with is going to need to be replaced, and I was hoping to elicit some inspiration from stories of recovery from the brink of death, or when it was finally time to put an end to a motorhome's suffering. By the way, it wouldn't ever go to the junkyard, it would be turned into a badass flatbed truck. If anyone has done the latter, have you had any issues registering the MH as a flat bed?
  11. Vehicle Inspections

    I'm thinking about moving from Wisconsin to Maryland, and taking my 1984 Toyota dolphin with me. Is anyone familiar with the inspections process in Maryland for RVs? Do RVs even get inspected there? If so, what does it take, and possibly more imporantly, how much might it cost, to bring a 1984 vehcile up to modern standards for emissions and such?
  12. Pardon my ignorance and thanks for any and all help. I have an '85 Sea Breeze and am wondering if I can run my outlets off of my coach battery? It works when plugged in to 110 but hoping there is a switch somewhere to allow the 12 volt to run the outlets. Also, my coach battery, while old, worked well then weakened and lost all power. I plugged my RV in (supposedly charges both engine and coach batteries) and left it for a few days (I have done this before and thought it was appropriate). Nada. I hooked it up to a battery charger and later realized it was almost completely dry and of course would not hold a charge. It seems by leaving it hooked up to 110 I may have boiled the water out of the battery. I read online that sometimes an RV's charger can take batteries to 13.4 volts which will do this to a battery. Is that bunk? Or should I not charge my coach (and engine) battery by plugging my rv into 110? Again, Thanks for any help. Bassnwhaler
  13. A couple of weeks ago my wife and I just got our first RV / Motorhome - 1986 Dolphin. The engine is in good shape and just needed a tune-up, hoses and belts replaced and the fuel filler line. The hoses and line will be done early June and I already did the tune-up. It needs new tires and found some 185/R14 tires for about $600 (for all six) online and found a place to mount and balance them for $15 / tire. The inside is a little rough, I think it must have had a leak at some point and the cabover and rear have had some surgery done. As far as the inside, they did a horrible job re-paneling the walls. the carpet was hideous and they only appliances that were working were the burners and the fridge off of AC (or so we were told). The water heater is there, but I'm not going to try and hook it up again. It's set for bypass and the hot water lines are cut.. since the shower is gone I don't think we'd use hot water anyway. I started checking out the appliances and after confirming that the fridge works on AC, I totally blew it out with some compressed air and was able to get it working off of LP as well. The guy said the furnace never worked (they only owned it 2 years) and wasn't even hooked up. I got all the manuals online and started checking it out and it LOOKED like it was OK, just didn't have the thermostat hooked up.. which was disconnected and just laying in one of the upper cabinets. I figured out where to hook that up and fired it up (with LP off).. the fan came right on.. good sign. I turned the propane on, it tried three times to light and didn't. I turned it off and back on again and it lit on the first try and within a couple of minutes we had nice hot air coming out! All four burners and the oven work.. don't imagine we'll ever use the oven though. The electrical outlets work off of AC and the DC lights seem to work fine as well. Toilet is there and works, but rear sink and shower are gone.. there's a closet where the shower used to be so I built some shelves in there. So far we've replaced the floor, made covers for all the cushions, added shelves, fixed drawers, made some window coverings, got the furnace working, got fridge working on AC and hung a toilet paper holder (saved best for last). We have a few more things to do before we take it out, mainly the hoses and tires and we plan on taking it out for Father's Day weekend. Over the winter I'm going to gut it and replace all the walls and ceiling, as well as build some additional cabinets. I've created a site if anyone is interested in looking at / tracking the progress: http://86dolphin.blogspot.com I have some before and progress pictures and I'm trying to update it at least every other day. I'm on the Yahoo Toyota-campers group, but just signed up for this site as well and it looks great! Thanks.
  14. Hi , I just purchased a 1987 Toyota Dolphin with a Chevy Camaro v8 engine in it. It has 30, 000 miles on it. I know * nothing* about engines other than what this guy told me..so I am asking here to see if anyone has thoughts or advice about this. He said I could drive it around a few days and if I didnt like it..could return it. I didnt want to turn it down as it seemed like a great deal that i should snatch up..so I went for it. Can anyone tell me about this engine and weather this sounds like a good swap for the original Toyota 22 ?
  15. Planning Some Projects

    I just purchased a 1985 Toyota Dolphin, and have a few projects I want to work on (well, many projects, but a few in the near future). Based on other's experience, what is the best way to run wires though the body of the coach? I want to install a backup camera on it, as well as a solar panel setup, I want to add a Tachometer, the one guide I found said there should be a green wire attached to one of the green cylinders near the corner of the drivers side of the front windshield, under the hood. I found two cylinders, but no unused wires.
  16. Fixing some seals

    I just purchased a 1985 Toyota dolphin, and I want to make sure it doesn't leak. The skylight over the bathroom, and the one over the ?bunk? both have damage and I would like the replace them. The bathroom vent looks like your standard RV vent, but the bunk one does not. Does anyone have any recommendations on finding a replacement vent for the one over the bunk? While I'm at it, Does anyone have suggestions on products to seal the roof with? Is it best to clean the roof and apply some sort of rubberized coating over the top of the aluminum?
  17. After a complete successful rebuild of the entire passenger side of my baby summer/fall 2014 the northeast had a SERIOUS amount of snow (like over 10 feet in 4 weeks) well, I live in San Francisco and the motorhome is stored at my mother's in Connecticut - do the math. Came back east to go up to New Hampshire and rebuild the interior and found the lyrics to The Grateful Dead's 'Brown Eyed Women' ringing in my head as I viewed my poor Dolphin : "Snowed so hard that the roof caved in." https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s6zbz557naukc3f/AABreFk9-ckj_NoiGdNuZOMya?dl=0 I am fully not kidding one bit when i tell you that I literally called the local dump and asked if and how they would take my R.V. off my hands...THEN just on a whim I went on Craigslist for the Hartford Connecticut area, typed in R.V. repair or something, and found this AMAZING DUDE that comes to you with all tools needed for around $30 an hour in his awesome little redone sweet 1978 motorhome and does R.V. REPAIR. Together we jammed it out in like 3 or 4 days. Very much easier to write about it and read about it, but basically we peeled back the aluminum top like a sardine can. Assess the wood on the top of each side's wall. I had just completely rebuilt the passenger side wall and thank God the driver side wall was still in decent shape. Making sure to create and restore the convex shape of the roof,we used one of the original pre-shaped cross-sections as a template and replicated it using about 8 to a dozen 7 Foot pine wood 1 x 2 boards. We matched or improved upon the construction around the middle vent and the forward vent. We put quarter inch plywood on top of the cross sections- and then did my best with the ripped aluminum -banging it out tucking back in the creases etc. Stapled it down and replaced the moldings with a set of new screws. Make sure to have a pad of paper masking tape anything you can do to write down the routing of the wiring and label the wiring as you will have to drill holes in these cross-sections 2 route the wires. EPMD self leveling sealant by dicor over the Staples and the cracks and the holes and the seams.
  18. 1985 Toyota Dolphin Motorhome. Owned since 1998 . Totaled by an F150 (right rear) fall of 2005. Re-man engine in 2007. Collision with a MOOSE June 15,2008 (right front) Time and pressure led to bowing and opening up a good bit. BEFORE : https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v0psst7xu30l7dw/AAAD2CG8PIJpNRIXcLxtNOm0a?dl=0
  19. Hi everyone, I've spent around 10-15 hours on this forums and others reading about toyota motorhomes and decided they were the best choice (gaz, realiblity and price) wise. Fast answers would be great since I'm meeting the guy again the 24. They're pretty rare in quebec, canada. Today I've found one, really well maintened with a nice guy who loved it. He has in his garage the Upgraded axle (true 1 ton) 6 nuts. He is asking 4000$ cad for the rv (93000 miles) standard all in working order exept the water heater. I just want to make sure that the axle it has right now is the dangerous one ( see the photo in black) , if so I will try to discuss with the guy and find a deal, I don't want to kill my girlfriend and I if it snaps off. (He never overloded it and always checked and greased the bearing, but what about the others owners, I don't want to take any chances. Do national rv still honor their warranty? Two main questions: 1. If we change the rear axle for the safe one, are the 5 nuts in the front safe enouph ( I don't plan to overload and I will will check the bearing for any loose, grease them 1-2 time during long trips, etc). Are they hard to change in the front? 2. Any guides, info out there to help us change the rear axle? Around how many hours? He thinks he have everything we need exept a few bolts that we should be able to get from toyoto (hopefully). I'm going to meet to guy again on the 24 and depending of what kind of deal we have, buying it on the 25 if I can/or we can do the upgrade. Thanks a lot for the input and I'm looking forward to be lucky enouph to drive this jewel ( we'll do 10 000 -15 000 km in 2 months ) this summer so we want something safe. Cheers! -Emmanuel
  20. Hi Folks I just bought a 21' 1990 Dolphin V6 last night and am trying to find an operation manual for the cabin. The prior owner was selling it for their elder parents and knew nothing about it. Seeking info on heater, refrigerator, auxiliary battery and 12v system, water system and tanks and other basic operation procedures. My apologies if this is a common post but I've spent some time trying to dig it up on line and am striking out. Thank you for your help and looking forward in contributing to this forum in the near future.
  21. Noob Needs Mentor

    Greetings All, I am a total noob. I just purchased my very first motorhome, a 1983 Dolphin with the 22R truck. The floorplan has the door, stove, and bathroom in the rear. Any help I could get with any aspect of the thing would be greatly appreciated. I'm such a noob, I don't even know how to drive the thing yet (its manual), so that is my first step. I am also going to be cleaning it up and putting in new window coverings and possibly wood veneer floors in the meantime. The bad: There are some old water stains around the roof The gas gauge doesn't work The good: It runs! Only 38,000 miles (supposedly) All of the appliances work (supposedly) I have very little clue about how all of the various components of the motorhome work, so I am researching them, but if anyone has any basic tips (e.g., how to hook up to electricity, water, etc. and pump waste) I would be ever so grateful! Once I can drive the thing, my plan is to take it to the local RV mechanic and have them look it over to see what it needs. I can do some engine work on my own, but given that it seems to run fine and that I just bought it, I am going to have a professional address any immediate or major needs and give it new fluids, etc. So, anyway, if anyone has experience with this year and model and wouldn't mind holding my hand a bit through this initial phase, that would be fantastic. Either way, I am very glad for this fantastic forum and all of the great info/people in. Cheers!
  22. This is a Renogy 100 watt kit. Under $200. I'm quite happy with the results, though I had to do some things to make it work better as a portable system. The main problem was that the wires from the battery and the solar panel had to be screwed into the controller. This would be fine for a nonportable setup but since I wanted to use it as a portable, it was too much work. It took too long and it was obvious that I would eventually strip the head slots on the set screws rendering the controller useless. Now the solar panel rides in the cab bed and it only takes about 5 minutes to get it working. The wires from the panel came with disconnects so I screwed them tightly into the controller and then squirted a bead of epoxy around each wire where they entered the controller. These wires are very stiff and would eventually work loose with movement without some serious stress relief. Hopefully they're attached permanently now. Then for the battery. I'd like to thank the person on this forum who pointed me to the needed quick disconnect. That's the little grey box in the picture. Actually I think I bought one size too big. But better too big than too small. For that I had to cut the battery wires and torch solder four connectors onto the wire ends. These connectors come with the the quick disconnect and snap into the gray box to provide good contact. If you do it right it is henceforth impossible to connect the battery with the wrong polarity. After soldering I snapped on the two halves of the gray plastic connectors. Then I tightened and epoxied the two short pieces of wire into the controller, making sure polarity was correct. After that it was simple to attach the the long wires onto the coach battery, again triple checking polarity. Now I just snap the disconnect together and I'm juiced. You have to connect the battery first with this solar controller. Then the panel or else it gets all confused. In the picture I have the controller hanging on the battery door with velcro tabs. I also have velcro on the back of the solar panel and that's where the controller rides when not being used. They give you a lot of wire with this kit and I can lean the panel anywhere around the Dolphin to get the best sun. I haven't had to deal with high winds yet. I might have to lay it flat on the ground for that. So this solved my main problem. Which is that I can't plug in where I park at home. I was lugging a generator up there and running it for a few hours. Now 3 or 4 hours of sun and I'm fully charged. The refrigerator is long gone out of my Dolphin and all I have is one of those 12 volt TE coolers. I've found that with the solar and a couple jugs of frozen water, I can boondock all weekend and everything is still cold. If I unplug the cooler at night. Those TE 12 volt coolers are better than an ice chest but the problem is that they run constantly. I hope to be able to afford a regular 12 volt refrigerator by next year. I've heard that the 12v. refrigerators actually use much less battery than the coolers because they shut themselves off. I know that a propane refrigerator is the best way to go but like I said that's long gone. The vents are boarded up, I'd need a new propane line. Maybe in the distant future. Too many other things to fix first. So this old man is happy with his first solar project. It's like magic to me.
  23. So I got my dolphin a month ago and slowly working on repairs needed to get it in liveable shape. I would love any help/ input on things many of you might have dealt with already. First up...
  24. I have a 1990 Dolphin with a fridge (Dometic RM 2401) that is not working. I plugged it in to electric while the RV was on power and it "ran" but did not get cold. Also lit the propane and ran with that on max cold and it did not get cold. After running a bit I opened the door to the fridge and could smell ammonia. I mentioned this and was told that any ammonia smell means the unit is dead. After this I was told: I am going to give this a try as either way the fridge needs to come out as I have an AC dorm style fridge I plan to put in there and use with an inverter. I am wondering if anyone has advice on the easiest/best way to remove the unit. I am particularly concerned about the gas line. My plan was to turn off the propane at the tank and then unhook the fridge, but I am not sure the proper way to cap the pipe or hose that runs to the fridge if there is no valve there. Thanks!
  25. 1978 Dolphin Axle Safe?

    Having a hard time figuring out if the rear axle on this 78 Dolphin is safe. It's a 5 lug single axle. Guy wants to trade it for my slightly larger 85 Dolphin with the upgraded dualies. If this one is good to go, I'd rather have the smaller rig with the single tires on the rear. Seems to have better clearance and would be easier to lift a bit for travels in Baja. Thoughts?
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