Jump to content
Sigmaz

Sunrader Rescue (From the clutches of nature and neglect)

Recommended Posts

Hello!

My name is Jon and I live in Hamilton Square, a small village outside of Stroudsburg, PA approximately 8 miles west of the Delaware Water Gap NJ/PA border.

I have been looking for a Toyota based RV for well over 4 years now, I have participated in groups, drooled over craigslist ads, and even helped a friend of mine buy a Dolphin in Florida so he and his girlfriend could travel the country for 2 years.

But I never found my rig or one in my price range.

Everything I had ever looked at or found, I internally compared to a Sunrader.. It's like my machinist buddies say " no matter what mill you buy, you'll always wish it was a Bridgeport" So I held out and bought a Bridgeport..

Well, one day Karma stepped in and somehow provided to me.... This is my 85 Sunrader.

I like to say that I rescued it from a the clutches of nature.

This Shorty used to belong to an older gentleman who has since passed. Sadly, his house and and associated property went up for tax sale in 2012. But since the house was is such disrepair it sat and sat and sat...until a friend of mine picked it up for something ridiculous like $10k.

During a casual conversation about Toyota based motorhomes my friend mentioned he thought he had one in the driveway of a property he bought. It was late but he asked if I wanted to check it out.. I sort of reluctantly said yes.

I was already assuming it would be a rotten and rusty heap of garbage and that I'd be doing nothing more than helping him dispose of it somehow.

I followed him down several unfamiliar roads for about 15 mins and up one big steep hill that resembled pikes peak.  this road eventually opened up into a lovely neighborhood full of well groomed hedges and striped lawns.

We travelled down another 1/4 mile and then my friend stopped next to what appeared to be an undeveloped lot. I thought he wanted to relay some directions to me when he hopped out of his truck and started walking toward me in my jeep so I dropped the window and stuck my head out. Then he said " here we are! park there"...

It was 9:30 and pretty darn dark out so I popped on my flashlight app in my phone and followed him through the woods.. he was 5 feet in front of me and held up a pine tree branch as we descended down a small bank. thats when I spotted what appeared to be a mid 90's dodge pickup. 

I started to check it out and then I heard my pal over in the dark say " Here it is. come check it out". I turned and took a few steps toward his voice. I then lifted my light and saw the toyota grille and headlights and then confirmed to him that yes, it is a Toyota.

I then lifted my light and once my eyes focused what I gazed upon were two, glorious, magical, wrap around windows.. It only took a second and then my adrenaline started surging!

I couldn't believe it! I was in the presence of an actual Sunrader.. something I always pined over but gave up on many moons ago.. I started getting whimpery and acting giddy..

I then stepped to the side and realized that it was a shorty!! I couldn't barely contain myself.

My friend couldn't understand my excitement. I kept saying things like "Unicorn" and "Hens Teeth" and other words describing rare things. 

That's when with his bewildered face on he asked me "You like this kind of thing?" I quickly exploded with a rambunctious unbridled "YES!!".

What I saw wasn't pretty, but I knew it could be and will be one day..

1.jpg.d4ea56284dbb8c477c45b006d822265e.jpg2.jpg.b0c6a3b36264f674e11f6d103ec7ed42.jpg3.jpg.fa18a211d3e9ab55f9f235812d712f6d.jpg8.jpg.fded97921cb611c70263d40d6982ec17.jpg6.jpg.68b87613d4f064f73124da3820045dd8.jpg11.jpg.531259eb40af6c24756e3e6879108d19.jpg9.jpg.59ee2d4546224b2700fb5429927ad821.jpg

A few mins passed and He still didn't understand my fascination but without a missed beat he said.. " heh', shit.. you can have it.."...

That's when I lost my mind and I may have even pee'd a little...

That moment on began the planning of the reclamation of the Sunrader from the clutches of nature.

I returned the next day with some yard tools and a mission....

The first order of business was to figure out where the heck it was?!

15.jpg.e840e406674cbf73a89c713a04324408.jpg

 So I began the itchy and tedious process of bushwhacking my way into the property.

.16.jpg.7565142dee957a7db7993b4004618fe9.jpg17.jpg.ba0f974eb81f225f99aff0e0eb55ff6e.jpg

It was hidden behind this poor neglected Ram.. but that thing had to get lost before I could extract this gem from the driveway.

18.jpg.4b873da58242e82da578e004f559fd8e.jpg

with all of the trees cut I still had to wait for the Dodge to leave so I did what anyone impatient would do.. try to start the rig!

I installed a new battery and after a bunch of squirting gasoline into a vacuum hose the 22RE came to life and kept running on it's own! 7+year old fuel still burning nice!

Cycled the transmission and it went forward and reverse WAHOO!

A few days went by and I got the call that the Dodge was being picked up that evening so I planned on the next day to be rescue day. 

After work I rushed over, turned the key and moved the rig out of it's sleeping area. the sound of vines ripping and tearing was something else. this rig was becoming part of the scenery.

I pulled it out and onto the other driveway area to take a look at the sides I couldn't really see before now and boy was it filthy.

20265110_10210551655843132_7013777391435326029_n.jpg.eec4ded2d6070ddfaf3102a34325438f.jpg

The rig was clearly converted to makeshift hot dog cart and unfortunately for me the ladder was cut off and the rear window was removed in order to hack in this abomination of a window as well as a crappy service counter.

20258438_10210551655483123_2563547527185389289_n.jpg.0c4daaa6f5460392b077c014febec4ba.jpg

The installer of this mess clearly had no respect for the rig .

A few mins later We loaded her up and headed home..( had to stop for air in the trailer tires)

20170726_203849.thumb.jpg.c2433e9c5cc2fa267e78759f4d5a5f0b.jpg20170726_211527.thumb.jpg.e8344a544ffe39acbef6d295844e7372.jpg

The next day I figured the only way to get my wife to be ok with the Sunrader was to take some of the eyesore factor away from it.. a quick localized cleaning revealed that the years of scum and scuz had protected the gelcoat quite well.

20170727_075718.thumb.jpg.51b58d03b0eabeb6331991e2ec2ddf3d.jpg20170727_075728.thumb.jpg.24bd362ba63b9bdd176cf52364e4ffd9.jpg

So I set forth and fired up the pressure washer and wouldn't you know it.. The rig isn't all that bad looking after all. Sure there markers are all missing and there are lots of little holes and damages caused by the previous owner but overall it's not in bad shape.

20287149_10210560756590645_8208244464335748050_o.thumb.jpg.d3c708a55eb95e9ceac1f2cc5bd8706f.jpg20170727_191229.thumb.jpg.9d94286cb8eb90567e1873d16b2dea35.jpg20170727_200255.thumb.jpg.4bc2dda6346f5c3fc10fea1c79f51192.jpg

 

While the exterior is not too shabby, the interior is an entirely different story as It was abused, neglected, and home to various rodents and spiders for so many years.

20170714_141213.thumb.jpg.6e1d2d9952bc91bafa4d309450fc9118.jpg20170714_141257.thumb.jpg.55c915ccc8dc0e037c2b0bfbc125a899.jpg20170714_141225.thumb.jpg.2f7e2a69e9afcbb2ab31f0c89216ef36.jpg20170714_141506.thumb.jpg.a422900ea42b68ba3392f5fe3815ea3d.jpg

 

Part of the dinette will need to be rebuilt and the cabinets need several missing doors fabricated but I'm currently working on trying to clean it up.

20170802_200715.thumb.jpg.399d764af8a009462c2ce6c8e7163def.jpg20170802_200739.thumb.jpg.1262876a883123e3f37023558468400c.jpg

I think this is going to be a terrific project with lots of hurdles, lessons, and rewards.

I have three issues as of now some I need help with from the community.

1. Sourcing a 1 Ton FF rear axle and wheels (locally)

2. Sourcing a large format rear window 66" x 30" ( or whatever the larger picture windows dimensions are) (locally if possible)

3. Fiberglass in a support beam to repair the roof sag caused by the AC and time

When I say locally I mean  NJ, NY, PA, DE, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI... Basically anywhere within 5 hrs of me.

Glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

Jon

 

Attached you will find other photos of various filth and disgust. 

 

4.jpg5.jpg

7.jpg12.jpg

13.jpg14.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow Sigmaz Very Cool story! Welcome. I hope you post pictures of your progress! Good Luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a temporary measure, you might try painting the back window framing black and limo tinting the glass while you look for a 'proper' replacement. Black tends to make things disappear.

Who knows, having the luxury of having an opening rear window might grow on you and you can start a trend! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I kinda like that sliding back window! Would let in a lot of cool air. Wish mine opened. It would look better black. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Derek up North said:

As a temporary measure, you might try painting the back window framing black and limo tinting the glass while you look for a 'proper' replacement. Black tends to make things disappear.

Who knows, having the luxury of having an opening rear window might grow on you and you can start a trend! :)

Jon, I think Derek might be onto something with this suggestion.  I, for one, would *really enjoy* opening windows with a rear dinette.

BTW, congratulations on your find.  You must have felt a bit like Indiana Jones unearthing hidden treasure in the jungle!  

Scarlett

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thus the expression "stepped in a pile of sh*t and came up smelling like a rose."

Congrats, most of what you need to do, has been done before and there are lots of pics for you to follow.

Edited by WME

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice! If you cannot find the rear window locally try the surplus dealers in Elkhart Indianna area.  If they have something the cost of a surplus window will offset the shipping.  Make sure you get a trim ring for it.

There are also companys that will make a window for you $$$$$   http://www.all-rite.com/windows/all-rite-slider-windows

https://www.rvwindows.com/company/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what a shorty Sunrader weighs.  Do you even need a one ton dually axle under there?  The RV looks pretty light weight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/4/2017 at 9:22 AM, Sigmaz said:

1. Sourcing a 1 Ton FF rear axle and wheels (locally)

2. Sourcing a large format rear window 66" x 30" ( or whatever the larger picture windows dimensions are) (locally if possible)

3. Fiberglass in a support beam to repair the roof sag caused by the AC and time

Dang! That ToyMo looks great after a pressure wash! I'm also happy to welcome another Pennsylvania Shorty Owner to the forums.

1. I'm not sure where to source the axle - fortunately, my '81 shorty came with this already. I had to buy a new set of tires due to dry rot on the old ones - between that and two new batteries under the hood. As far as tires went, I ordered from tires-easy.com and went with the Thunderer Ranger R101 185R14C D/8PR BSW.

2. Sourcing the large window may be tougher than you anticipate. I would check out or call a few places nearby to see if they have any large format windows.

3. Luckily for you, there are a ton of examples of people correcting this on here.

You should also check out the floor to see if there is any dry rot or wet rot. It looked like your over cab had a bit of moisture up there. Perhaps check the window seals - resealing over cab windows are a requirement of owning a Sunrader. I slapped a coat of Killz All in the overcab and other places throughout the vehicle.

Hopefully, you still have the fresh water, grey, & black water tanks. I'm currently searching for a fresh water tank for my Sunrader - I believe that they were custom molded for our motorhomes.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to message me or post on this thread. I'm looking forward to seeing your interior rebuild.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Bob C said:

I don't know what a shorty Sunrader weighs.  Do you even need a one ton dually axle under there?  The RV looks pretty light weight.

The 18' Sunrader doesn't weigh that much less than other Toyota Motorhomes and were NOT excluded from the Axle Recall (despite best efforts to have them 'forgotten').

Sunrader Axle Recall - RC-91V061-NN.pdf

15726712_911097567863_7558610131401369900_n.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Derek-Thanks for the information.  There is a shorty Sunrader about 10 miles from where I live.  i'll have to take a look at it the next time i drive by to see what he has for a rear axle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great story! Most work requires some basic skills and patient. Part/materials won't cost much. How is the frame? Hopefully there won't be much rust

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow.. thanks for all of the replies gang..

The other day I posted a picture of my Sunrader hooked to my Subaru 360.. I wanted to see what the smallest possible Class C hauling the smallest possible toad would look like.

20170805_143842.thumb.jpg.d058b18165c02e9534edd05160c7f076.jpg

I got so many mixed responses. but full disclosure, this was just a photo OP. no towing was done. 

To scale and in photos it looks legit. in person it's a riot.

Anyway, on with the post....

Yes I am still on the lookout for the axles and windows.. 

I have already began the painstaking process of clearing rig out of all the nasty carpet and damaged woodstuffs.

FB_IMG_1501418481623.jpg.6ca6a1c399d916c975ad697534b1fa1c.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then slathered on some Kilz to help mediate any scents from rodents, moisture, or any other damage inflicted by the previous owner. (my wife scared the crap out of me in the one photo)

20170802_200739.thumb.jpg.1c4bb4195bef30ee70f024608d378e30.jpg20170802_205650.thumb.jpg.25822b67f263458dcfe8a9f516a7d6da.jpg

Then I began ripping out the old carpeting from the Cab and Coach  as well as the associated staples... Oh so many staples...

20170812_162235.thumb.jpg.ac215ff0b85aa9064c17d41e80d18101.jpg20170812_162224.thumb.jpg.9deb272a70409c951a7d8fda4b33e0b8.jpg

20170812_162406.thumb.jpg.baa941732869ff8de4672c0272c95998.jpg20170812_162254.thumb.jpg.93a09a2882002112cc9b52fc0aa22372.jpg20170810_195824.thumb.jpg.6989f6e699a5c0dcb42107e0f44e9bb6.jpg

 

One thing that I found interesting was the overzealous use of adhesive and wood screws to hold the carpet in the cab down.. I felt this was pretty much unnecessary...

20170810_194146.thumb.jpg.8f95cf430c366ee46f7c27b7f2fe291c.jpg

 

So here is a bittersweet situation I ran into this weekend..

There was a 92 Dolphin on FB in a group that was torn apart because of water damage. The truck had low miles and it was ripped down to the frame and posted up for $800

I thought since all I wanted were the axles I made a barter offer to the owner for an unused welder I had in the shop.. He accepted but it was pending a cash sale.... sadly for me the guy showed up with the money.

I thought to myself .. hey, he might still have all the appliances!! So I made the same offer but for the refrigerator and an awning he had as well as the stove..

He was ok with the deal.. so I hitched up the trailer and headed over..

Turns out the stove is a 4 burner cooktop... which wasn't at all what I was looking for, but I thought to myself.."ok, so I install this cooktop and mount the microwave where the oven used to be."

Then I asked about the fridge.. he tells me he can't find it... UGH! How do you lose a refrigerator?!... Then he offers me one from another trailer he had on his property... I reluctantly said ok.. and they scurried off and extracted the promised replacement fridge..

So now I've got this RM 2552 I can't use because its too tall and too wide. but I tell them to go ahead and put it on the trailer anyway...

I explained to him that this stuff isn't going to help me much and he's getting a better deal than I am.. so then he pulls out the 10' awning, It's a Comfort by Colorado Freedom II.. which in itself is exciting so far.. but the endcap is smashed and missing and the mounting clips are gone and the entire unit is scratched and filthy... But  hey! I Have the crank!  It needs to be repaired, cleaned and painted.. A lot of work, but even still it's a considerable savings over new.. right?

20170813_182933.thumb.jpg.562e1f3542e9a7de58f0e946c37537cb.jpg

I was getting frustrated and he saw that just then he said.. "here. just take everything I have". so I ended up with:

ALL of the windows for the coach of a Dolphin, the Water heater, two basin sink, some lights, The Coleman AC unit (good cover!), Power converter/charger unit, and many of the compartment doors as well as the fresh water tank.

I kinda got screwed.. I really only wanted the axles, and I couldn't get them.. then I wanted the refrigerator and I didn't even get that. and I forgot the darn horizontal propane tank in the shed.. DANG!

So if anyone needs any of this stuff please feel free to contact me.  And just so you know the RM2552 is available if anyone wants it as well! CHEAP!

 

Edited by Sigmaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a cute funny little car. If I was going to tow anything that would be a great choice. If you were lucky enough to have a V6 I would go for it but alas. It's not your frame I would worry about. Shorty Sunrader have the least added frame extensions and the ones on mine look heavier than my Toyota frame. Super strong. The deal with towing is besides your 4 banger doesn't have much get up and go, it also doesn't have a lot of stopping power. Ya got to be able to stop all that weight.

Linda S

Did I give you the link to this place? car-part says the have a full float axle for a 1990 which is what you need. 140 miles away but thats close in the world of tracking down an axle

Chaz's Used Auto Parts USA-MD(Taneytown) Request_Quote 410-876-7815 / 888-212-8775 Request_Insurance_Quote
LiveChat_space.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hah.. thanks for the link Linda.. I'll check that out as soon as I finish typing this reply.

The little subie weighs in at <1k#  it's pretty darn light.. lol. Funny thing, the rearbumper of this sunrader is pretty darn stout. 

It's a full steel bumper with multiple tie-in's to the frame on both sides and the center.. I wonder if I have a photo here....

Ahh here we go:

20170805_145418.thumb.jpg.833c3a1756d4b67824946a260c5c1476.jpg

 

Hmm, it sort of looks like an I-beam in that photo... it's actually a fully boxed structure but its actually quite heavy duty..

here's another view...

20170727_200255.thumb.jpg.d67de9cdb58cfb7f46a6b095e46ba93d.jpg

 

lol silly little camper..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you get that car for free too?:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jon,

what btu is the coleman? i want something small, certainly not the 15000 btu variety.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, redskinman said:

Did you get that car for free too?:D

Funny that you say that.

I have been restoring Subaru 360's for over a decade and this one was gifted to me by an owner of a white one I had brought back from the grave.

So to say free would be somewhat accurate.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, neubie said:

jon,

what btu is the coleman? i want something small, certainly not the 15000 btu variety.

I'm not sure what BTU this unit is...

I saw one post saying it was 7100BTU but I really don't know.

Model: 6727-739

20170814_195619.thumb.jpg.dd7a211c93dde59c9bb2c183a9d56334.jpg

Edited by Sigmaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a mini mach alright. So why aren't you going to use it. I definitely remember hot sticky summers back east. 

Linda S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Sigmaz said:

I'm not sure what BTU this unit is...

I saw one post saying it was 7100BTU but I really don't know.

Model: 6727-739

20170814_195619.thumb.jpg.dd7a211c93dde59c9bb2c183a9d56334.jpg

Linda,

He has one on his roof already.

Jon,

Is it known to work, and is it even possible to ship it to the west coast? PM me the logistics if it works and you can find a way to ship it without breaking the bank to san francisco.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, neubie said:

Linda,

He has one on his roof already.

Jon,

Is it known to work, and is it even possible to ship it to the west coast? PM me the logistics if it works and you can find a way to ship it without breaking the bank to san francisco.

Thats right, Linda there is one on the roof already. It needs a new cover but during the restore it'll be coming off as well.

I don't really like the sag it's given to my roof over the years.

Granted, I will be pushing it back up into place and adding a support beam to the roof .. but for now I don't like the AC for what it's done..

I'm not sure what logistics would be like to California.. Im guessing it's probably cheaper to find one locally.. Then again these little ones might be as hard to find as the RM2410 I'm seeking.

Neubie, it was working up until when it was removed before the rig was demolished.

 

Edited by Sigmaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Sigmaz said:

Thats right, Linda there is one on the roof already. It needs a new cover but during the restore it'll be coming off as well.

I don't really like the sag it's given to my roof over the years.

Granted, I will be pushing it back up into place and adding a support beam to the roof .. but for now I don't like the AC for what it's done..

I'm not sure what logistics would be like to California.. Im guessing it's probably cheaper to find one locally.. Then again these little ones might be as hard to find as the RM2410 I'm seeking.

Neubie, it was working up until when it was removed before the rig was demolished.

 

Indeed the attraction is the small size/btu. Cant you plug it in into some 120V and make sure it still runs, these are basically drop in and wire. There is not much that comes up in california that is reasonable and honest in terms of parts.

I remain interested if you can test, and find out what usps will charge. I was going to put off the a/c until after the reconstruction, so this is just in case there is a reasonable and easy solution for both of us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×