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Sunny78

Sunny the '78 Sunrader

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Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum and very excited to learn all about my new ToyHome. I recently bought a 1978 Sunrader and am really looking forward to starting some projects on it. I thought I would make a new post to introduce myself and Sunny to the community, shes a little funky and needs a good amount of work, but shes a Beauty!

I am trying to prioritize some different projects, but up on the list for the next couple weeks will be fixing some electrical issues (tail lights aren't functioning properly), as well as ripping out the dinette benches and counter/cabinets. I am going to eliminate the refrigerator as well as the stove/oven and replacing with a 12v top load fridge and using a camp stove for cooking, That way we will have much more counter space if not using the camp stove. I also have 4 new tires that I am planning on mounting up soon, and I will be replacing the water systems (tanks, pump, heater, etc.) in the near future.

I have just finished installing a new window on the drivers side of the camper and epoxied the cracks in the front wrap around window as well. Also, just replaced the top vent cover so now she's all water tight once again! Thanks god, because it is STILL SNOWING here in Lake Tahoe! Man, this winter season has been non-stop :)

I will try my best to keep this post up-to-date as I make progress on her. Along the way, any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

 

-Graham

 

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2 minutes ago, moalaska said:

Prioritize sourcing a proper 1 ton axle if it doesn't have one.   

Looks like I will be rebuilding the axle I currently have and going with single wheels. From what I understand this G082 axle is just fine with SWR on this rig because I am only about 3700 lbs wet. The tires I got are 8ply load range D so should support the weight just fine. Can anyone confirm?

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1 hour ago, Sunny78 said:

Looks like I will be rebuilding the axle I currently have and going with single wheels. From what I understand this G082 axle is just fine with SWR on this rig because I am only about 3700 lbs wet. The tires I got are 8ply load range D so should support the weight just fine. Can anyone confirm?

I would have the axle shafts magnafluxed before reinstalling. These axle shafts are no longer available. Remember you got over 40 years of “foolie” weight that may have already degraded the steel. Switching to singles is no guarantee you won’t drop an axle. 

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Good call Fred. I will have to look into that. are you sure that the axle shafts from the G082 axle are no longer made (or available anywhere old-stock)? I could have sworn I found a source for them recently, but can't seem to find it now... anybody else have any insight? hmm... Does anyone know of the process to swap axles on this rig if I do end up finding a 1-ton FF? I read I would need to modify the drive shaft to be able to bolt up. Are there any other modifications to be done? Just looking for the least labor intensive/ cheapest option to make my rig safe.

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11 minutes ago, Sunny78 said:

Good call Fred. I will have to look into that. are you sure that the axle shafts from the G082 axle are no longer made (or available anywhere old-stock)? I could have sworn I found a source for them recently, but can't seem to find it now... anybody else have any insight? hmm... Does anyone know of the process to swap axles on this rig if I do end up finding a 1-ton FF? I read I would need to modify the drive shaft to be able to bolt up. Are there any other modifications to be done? Just looking for the least labor intensive/ cheapest option to make my rig safe.

I spent months trying to find them. The local Toyota dealer actually searched Japan for any NOS axles with no luck. 

The left and right axle shafts are interchangeable on the GO82 (i.e. same length). If you finds shafts that ask for driver or passenger side they won’t work. They’re for the 7.5 r&p.

If you can find a shop to magnaflux the shafts (bearing area especially) that would be the cheapest route to take. If all good, reinstall with new bearings and single wheels. 

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46 minutes ago, fred heath said:

I spent months trying to find them. The local Toyota dealer actually searched Japan for any NOS axles with no luck. 

The left and right axle shafts are interchangeable on the GO82 (i.e. same length). If you finds shafts that ask for driver or passenger side they won’t work. They’re for the 7.5 r&p.

If you can find a shop to magnaflux the shafts (bearing area especially) that would be the cheapest route to take. If all good, reinstall with new bearings and single wheels. 

Would it be a good idea to source a G082 axle from a similar year pickup that has single wheels? That very well might be an easy option for me.

If so, would anyone know what years used this axle? I believe they were in high-ace vans similar years also.

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Pick and Pull places are being really thin on old trucks. Your model was built from 1972-1978, good luck.

While the truck's axle may be less abused, but it would have a zillion miles on it.

 

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I literally just pulled my Sunrader also referred to as "Sunny" off the Toyota chassis. And now my full floating 1 ton dually axle is for sale! I'm a little north of you in Bend Oregon 

https://bend.craigslist.org/pts/d/redmond-toyota-6-lug-full-float-dually/6857624889.html

 

If you haven't already seen this unfortunate event I will link that as well. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCoTfAt2R9w&t=18s

 

Not trying to scare monger you into buying my axle. But I personally think you might be heading in the wrong direction with single tiny wheels...

 

Drive your camper up to Bend and we will change the axle in the driveway!

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Tahoe to Bend is not that far. Plus an experienced mechanic to help you do the job. This is a no brainer. Please take him up on it

Linda S

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6 hours ago, linda s said:

Tahoe to Bend is not that far. Plus an experienced mechanic to help you do the job. This is a no brainer. Please take him up on it

Linda S

You’re right, not too far. And the offer is great, but I’m not in a place to move that quickly with this project yet. Looking to get all my ducks in a row and figure out what direction I’ll be going with this overhaul so I can get a budget plan laid out. Thanks so much for the help everyone! 

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14 hours ago, fzj80joe said:

If you haven't already seen this unfortunate event I will link that as well. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCoTfAt2R9w&t=18s

Hey Joe, not trying to jump down your throat here - and it's been about a month since I watched that video - but wasn't the issue that the shop screwed up putting the wheel on? And that was their last straw so they moved on... The failure was human error not due to single wheels.

I'm interested in this because I'd like to eventually have a 18ft Sunrader with a replaced rear axle that isn't dually. Cheers!

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It absolutely was the shops fault. They had already installed the front range full float conversion on that axle. Ya still have to tighten your lug nuts

Linda S

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I hear them lug nuts are pretty important 

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Agreed. Lug nuts are important!

also, I’m leaning toward the option Neil mentioned.

What is the best/easiest axle I can swap into my 17ft Sunrader that I can run single wheels on? I would rather not have duallys if not needed.

Edited by Sunny78

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I suspect that the best/easiest axle swap would be what's popular with people who offroad Toyota trucks. Tried and true and I'm sure the installation bugs have been worked out.

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I have been doing some reading about a possible Dana 60 rear axle swap.. can anyone post a link to the post that Fred made about this? Or are there any other threads similar? I can’t seem to locate...

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1 hour ago, Sunny78 said:

I have been doing some reading about a possible Dana 60 rear axle swap.. can anyone post a link to the post that Fred made about this? Or are there any other threads similar? I can’t seem to locate...

The swap I did will run you about $4K if you farm the work out. The $850 axle with help installing is a deal. You’re probably looking at less than $1k. Yes, you’ll still have duelies but your best bang for the buck. IMHO. Fred

The spring perches will have to be relocated and I’m not sure about the shock mounts (never done a Toyota axle). Still way cheaper than any alternative. 

Edited by fred heath

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With single wheels you will be facing stability and cornering problems. That's why boundfornowhere sold their Sunrader after all that work. Another whole set of crap to deal with instead of just getting it done for a great price. 

Linda S

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8 minutes ago, linda s said:

With single wheels you will be facing stability and cornering problems. That's why boundfornowhere sold their Sunrader after all that work. Another whole set of crap to deal with instead of just getting it done for a great price. 

Linda S

Singles have more sidewall flex. Rear tire sidewall flex along with body roll will give you really wonky steering, that's my guess on what boundfornowhere was experiencing. Plus being 4 wheel drive sitting higher they were more top heavy than a 2 wheel drive. Maybe there is a correct single tire and suspension choice. Some of it might be custom!

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Well from the point of view of this thread custom means expensive. He's saving so much money with the dually that is being offered. 

Yes boundfornowhere had perfectly viable options. They rebuilt the coach but did no wrenching and never asked here for suspension help. My friend Jerry did the same front range full float conversion and had no problems. Larger E load range tires don't flex much

Linda S

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7 hours ago, TigersRreal said:

Hey Joe, not trying to jump down your throat here - and it's been about a month since I watched that video - but wasn't the issue that the shop screwed up putting the wheel on? And that was their last straw so they moved on... The failure was human error not due to single wheels.

I'm interested in this because I'd like to eventually have a 18ft Sunrader with a replaced rear axle that isn't dually. Cheers!

I don't want dailies either. I was going to put a chevy 14 bolt under there but decided it wasn't worth keeping the toyota chassis at all. Its sad because we own 4 other toyota's but I personally don't think the little pickups can perform in the way I want. 

 

However converting the toyota axle to singles is pretty narrow. I can't imagine it handles great but I'm not speaking from experience. I thought about pulling the hubs off my land cruiser and trying them on the camper to convert to single wheels and 6 lug. then I could run a 16" tire rated for 3000lbs. 

 

Edited by fzj80joe

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My Odyssey 4x4 is single rear wheel, I can't speak too much about the stability since I only drove it about 300 miles after buying it before pulling it apart and starting the rebuild. That being said, it never felt tippy or sketchy at all. Turns were fine and it was happy cruising at 55 down small curvy roads. I did not take it offroad, so I cannot speak for steep angles, but I don't see any problems with it. 

The suspension is nice and stiff and has no sag, perhaps it would be a bit more white knuckle if it had soft rear end suspension, but that was not my case. Mine also has front as well as rear sway bars which seem to perform great. The biggest concern in my opinion is a rear tire blow out at highway speed, it would be pretty hard to keep control of it.  

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1 hour ago, Odyssey 4x4 said:

My Odyssey 4x4 is single rear wheel, I can't speak too much about the stability since I only drove it about 300 miles after buying it before pulling it apart and starting the rebuild. That being said, it never felt tippy or sketchy at all. Turns were fine and it was happy cruising at 55 down small curvy roads. I did not take it offroad, so I cannot speak for steep angles, but I don't see any problems with it. 

The suspension is nice and stiff and has no sag, perhaps it would be a bit more white knuckle if it had soft rear end suspension, but that was not my case. Mine also has front as well as rear sway bars which seem to perform great. The biggest concern in my opinion is a rear tire blow out at highway speed, it would be pretty hard to keep control of it.  

Thanks for the insight, what is your axle and suspension set up?

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It's the stock 1990 4x4 axle, I believe an 8" with the 4-pinion v6/turbo differential. It has a beefy 8-leaf pack with what looks to be a heavy duty helper spring on the bottom.  It looks to be a standard sway bar, (not shown in after photos), and I put on a set of Bilstein shocks which I have yet to drive on (also not in after photos).

Included is a before photo featuring all parts as well as the photos of the semi finished rebuilt / install. 

 

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Odyssey 4x4's axle is wider than a 78 axle. They went from 55 inches to 58. Also in 1989 with the introduction of the V6 the frames were upgraded. Add the that his wider 15 inch wheels and tires and it all adds up to more stability on the road. 

Linda S

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Who built the spring pack? My 87 Nova Star had a 8 leaf pack but it did not have the leaf retaining bars like the newer stuff now has.

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Hey everyone! Super stoked to get a chance to post an update on Sunny. We’ve got her pretty much gutted and I am in the process of fiberglassing holes that were created by removing the appliances. Lots of sanding!

 We will be going with all new cabinets, dinette as well as new electrical, gas, and water systems. Systems will be pretty minimal.

I will have hot water for sink/ outdoor shower, fresh and gray tanks, pump and heater.

Gas will include three lines: one for stove top, another for my mr. buddy heater, and the last to the water heater.

Electrical will be coming from my coach battery up front. I have 6 circuits I’ll run from a new fuse panel: inverter, lighting, water pump, hood fan, usb hub, and cooler/freezer. I plan on running some solar some day!

The cabinets and dinette I am planning on building myself, and will feature much more storage than the previous original set up. There will be folding seats at the dinette that we can put larger items in and several drawers under the main counter where the oven used to be.

here are some shots of the gutting process, enjoy.

-Graham

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update!

We have been hard at work rebuilding the interior after gutting almost everything out of Sunny.

We now have almost all electrical hooked up and running. I have designated the spot above the old refrigerator as the panel for the 12v circuits. The counter top on that side will have a hinge to access the panel if we need.

The passenger side bench which will be used for storage is just about finished, and I've began work on the driver side bench and counter. The driver's side bench will be the home of the fresh water tank and water pump as it was in the original set up (much more insulated now though) with the grey water tank residing under the sink. I have yet to fully figure out the layout of this main cabinet, but it will have some drawers and some doors and hopefully utilize as much space as possible.

Also, there are a few more studs that we need to fiberglass onto the walls in order to insulate and hang wall panels.

After the framing is finished we will complete the rest of the electrical circuits and mount the exhaust hood above where the camp stove will go (factory spot just a little higher up toward the ceiling) as well as begin work on running the LPG and water lines and such.

Overall we are getting very excited with the progress and can't wait to share the next steps with you all.

 

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