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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone let me introduce myself!  First I apologize as I probably write too much being a decently fast typer.  I really enjoy learning new things, especially when it comes to fixing them.  I have been wrenching for over 25yrs, am ASE certified, and a decent all around DIY-er.  I love to fix, and upgrade broken things, especially if they are the underdogs.  I fell in love with these little Toyota Motorhomes about 8yrs or so ago when I was working for a Mom and Pops Tire and Service center.  I never liked moving the big RV's around and hated to work on them even more.  Still there was an odd fascination with them.  I think it was the weird glimpse into peoples lives when you stepped into one (with dirty shoes respectfully removed).  None of them were "just right" though in my opinion.  Too big, or too small, too cramped, poorly laid out, no bathroom, and the list went on.  But the very first time I saw a Toyota Dolphin, I was hooked!  It was just PERFECT!  Almost.  Funny story the guy had just gotten it from some higher than high meth-heads asking $3000 for it, he gave them $300.  It was a "foolie" as I have discovered the term used here.  I had to put tires on it.  That was...  I have no polite words for those wheels.  Eventually, I managed to get them changed out.  Most tire guys and mechanics have thankfully never seen those wheels!!!  But any that have do NOT forget them...   

Somehow though I never really got t do much past basic service work on these behemoths, and micro houses.  

Anyways, I have wanted A Toyota micro motorhome ever since.  Well I got a call from the missus Saturday before last, she had found one for sale that SHE wanted!  It was pretty cheap, so the game was on!  It is a 1986 Mini Cruiser (no it isn't a Dolphin, but close enough and I like the layout even better).  Low miles at 32k, but slightly rough around the edges.  I had a good idea what to expect from careful inspection of the photos on my phone.  Fast forward, no real surprises.  Roof sagging from the heavy Coleman AC unit.  Signs of prior leaks and some damage.  Tail lights not working.  A whole mess of keys, half that don't seem to even go to this motorhome.  Faded and old fabrics.  And an alternator not charging.  That was an almost unnoticed afterthought.

But when we had gotten there it was still sealed up, and engine ice cold.  There was NO FUNKY SMELLS!  I mean sure, normal closed up stuffy camper smells, but no mold or any other scary smells you would actually expect.  And the engine fired right up no hesitation.  But... from a starter button.  After some discussion we negotiated a slightly better price and went ahead and paid for it.  We knew it wouldn't last the weekend.

Then the real fun began...  Alternator not charging and no plates, plus no idea how much air is in the tires.  So we call AAA to get it towed home.  And I discover that I have entered a new realm of old vehicle ownership...  After some discussion with me trying to explain that the model is "Pickup" and the missus trying to tell them something completely different, Triple A sends out a tow truck.  And he promptly tells me he can't tow it and that we need a wheel lift truck.  After another two hours waiting for them to send out somebody else we throw the towel in for the night.  Turns out we have to upgrade our membership to include RVs.  The next morning she does that, and gets a Good Sam membership.  

She is impatient though and Monday wants to go back out and try to drive it home.  She had gotten the plates so I figured we would give it a shot, or at least get some work done on it.  So we head out this time with tools and a new alternator.      

Further inspection found front and outer rear tires with only 26psi in them.  I couldn't get my compressor onto the inside duallies though.  Plus I wasn't going to drive it home with the alternator not charging.  So I do some digging and diagnostics and verify that the alternator isn't working.  I see some strange readings and discover that the main 80 amp fuse is blown.  And looking at the buried alternator, decide it isn't the night to pull that one off.  

But hey might as well put the plate on!  And then the truck stops starting...  Until now, it has started and run easily with just a key twist.  So we give up for the night and head back home.  Mind you this is a 45 minute drive.  

We get home, and I order some valve extensions and and a handful of angled adapters from Amazon.  

We wait for our 72hrs to be up and head back Wednesday evening.  While waiting for the tow truck, again, I poke at things trying to figure out the tail lights and the no start.  It is cranking over, but not starting.  I try to "pull" the 80 amp fuse out.  It just comes apart and feels like it has welded itself into the fusebox.  After much pulling and prying I have gotten nowhere, but I have the exposed ends of the fuse now separated enough to twist them together.  And the lights suddenly are all working, plus a super awesomely annoying door buzzer!  Still not starting.  

I give up and try to get the extensions on.  Success on the drivers side, but the passenger side has a bad rubber valve stem and it is pushing it just enough that it leaks.  I give up on that project for the moment.  The wheels have to come off.  And now I am worried about having it towed home on a dollie or wheel lift.

After 4hrs of waiting at midnight the tow truck driver finally shows up with a wheel lift tow truck flatbed combo, and proceeds to flatbed it.  He used a super slick set of 2x6 ramps he had made for this purpose.  We get home with the Toyota around 1am Thursday morning....

This should be fun!  Lets try to get the new RV on the road for vacation, and it starts Saturday!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!  But our adventures had just begun...  It is now early Wednesday morning about halfway through my vacation.  Much progress has been made, and we have now even heard it run multiple times.  

Part 2 to follow shortly...  Hopefully with some pictures, and some good news like "Hey it has actually driven around the block now!"  I am hoping to actually take it camping before my vacation is up, but that might be asking a lot....  

 

P.S.  If you want to see some mayhem and amusing projects and modifications, watch this space!  I have already finished up a couple super neat mods I will post up shortly!  

Edited by thewanderlustking

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Posted (edited)

Hint, your 80 amp is bolted in to the buss bar underneath. Just flip the fuse panel over.

Edited by Maineah

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Lol yep!!!  I figured that out as I was taking the wires off to install the new breaker.  Once I saw that, I went back out and just got the correct 80 amp fuse....

There have been a couple "GOTCHAS" as I learn about this Toyota and motorhomes.  Like spending 2hrs trying to figure out why the refrigerator doesn't work.  I am sure it has nothing to do with my sloped driveway...  Naw, it couldn't be that!   🙃  

So, Thursday after work I tackle the no-start.  After some poking about, I determine that the fuel pump isn't coming on.  Cool, should be easy enough!  Or it would be if there was an access panel.  After staring at it for a while, I determine I have a few decent points I can measure off of underneath that I can reference above.  Dropping the tank in my driveway isn't an option, I can barely fit underneath and working above my head like that aggravates a bad shoulder anyways.

I discover that the RV plug doesn't just plug into my garage.  Crash course in RV pore follows, I determine it is a 30 amp service plug and order some adapters off Amazon.  

Friday morning, I order the fuel pump.  By the end of the day, I am ready for vacation, and too tired to really mess with the RV.  I plug it into the garage and am thrilled to discover the Coleman AC still works!    

Saturday morning, we go pickup the fuel pump.  I could have gotten one from Amazon for $20, but I went with a Bosch for $100, missus didn't want a potentially unreliable one.  Alright time to get the wheels off!  And NOPE.  Too heavy for my jack, and the bottle jack in the basement is useless too.  Alright so run to Harbor Freight for a new jack, they are sold out of the aluminum ones.  The steal ones that are heavy duty enough are monsters and not going to fit anywhere.  After some googling, we head to the next town over.  Their local Harbor Freight has the jack I am after in stock.  But they also have a retail center for my work, so we decide to stop in there first.  

She finds the "perfect" jack!  It is heavy duty enough, comes in a nice storage case, and is compact enough to be able to hide it somewhere in the Cruiser.  And it is expensive.  But hey it should work right?  So we go to the counter and I give them my employee number.  The price PLUMMETS from the $175 tag on the shelf to just $50.  Score!  I was not convinced until I saw the final price, then I was pretty happy.  

We go back home and she gets dinner ready.  And I decide I will go ahead and try lifting it up while waiting.  So it is compact yeah?  Well compact means short handle too.  And it has this weird swivel on it so you can jack from any angle.  The handle comes out twice as I am trying to jack it up and my hand punches the nice soft concrete both times.  And only the outside wheel even lifts up.  Once that is off the ground, yeah not enough leverage to actually lift it up any further.  

So after dinner, we head BACK out.  Back to get the one I originally wanted from Harbor Freight.  Then return the other one.  Then back home.  This one is rated the same, but it has a much longer handle and lifts the rear up with relative ease.  I leave it sitting up on the jack overnight (wheels still on and wheel chocks in place).  I want to make sure this one can handle the weight.  

Sunday morning finds things just as I left them, time to get the wheels off!  But before I do, I try starting the RV.  AND IT FIRES RIGHT UP!!!  Umm say what?  Yep, it fires right up.  Runs smooth as glass.  And the alternator light is out now.  Cool, damn thing is fixing itself.  I can work with this.    

I start on the drivers side (I am sure somebody knows where this is going.... 🤨 ).  Starts off with 22mm being too small, and blowing my 24mm socket apart.  I know I don't own a 23mm socket, so I head to the shop for a 15/16ths SAE.  Can't find that one either, so head back to Harbor Freight and get another set of Metric and a set of SAE impacts.  Missus complains about the price.  I tell her what just the one socket would cost off the tool truck, she stops.  

Wait for it.....

And the wheel nuts are frozen on!  Or are they...  After a moment of struggle, I decide to tighten one to help break it free, and it comes right off!  Seriously REVERSE threads?!  Ugh.  I felt better though, the drivers side nuts had already been pounded on by others before I had come along to repeat that same mistake.  Take the tires back to work.  And of course we are out of screw in valve stems, so THAT costs me a trip to the parts store and $18 for 4 damn stems.  I can't remember the last time I paid for valve stems.  Probably over 20yrs ago.  

I discover that the seller's "brand new" tires are 10+ years old.  All the DOT codes had been installed facing inwards.  Oh and 185R14C is a size that no longer exists in our system, so can't get a price for new tires.  Moot point as they would need to be ordered anyways.  I decide they look good enough for now, get the stems in, and get the stems replaced and the tires rebalanced without any further issues.

Get home, and the rain starts.  And we discover that the leak free rain the day before, was just a tease.  The seller's "repaired and no longer leaking roof" definition is not the same as ours.  It was like somebody forgot to turn the faucet off that last bit.  A nice steady thin stream.  Maybe it was like a garden hose before?  So the roof is defiantly leaking.

But hey, it is starting now!  

Monday morning, alternator charging, fuel pump working.  Guess I won't need the alternator and fuel pump after all!!!  So we tackle cleaning and a bunch of other little projects.  Every time we fire it up, runs smoothly.  

Tuesday morning, and then it doesn't start.  But a quick hit with starting fluid and it is running, so I let it run a few minutes.  Throughout the day it starts right up each time.  Tuesdays project is to build rear tire pressure equalizers, and get the wheels back on.  Big rigs use these so they can loose two tires at once, or um I mean to help with tire wear.  What happens is the inside tire heats up first increasing the air pressure.  The difference causes accelerated wear on the tire and makes it heat up more snowballing the effect.  But connecting the tires together, lets the pressures and temperatures equalize.  But with one major drawback.  A loss in tire pressure now means both tires go low.  

But I had a plan, and the real reason for wanting equalizers.  TPMS system!  RV 6 sensor systems are expensive.  Especially when I happen to have a couple brand new in the box car systems, one even specifically for a Toyota.  It is supposed to fit in the Toyota switch blanks.  It didn't, of course.  I already had discovered that Monday though.  Anyways, using the equalizers on the rear would let me use a 4 sensor system I already had on hand.  But, these equalizer setups are EXPENSIVE.  So time to make my own!  I spent most of the day making that up, it came out really nicely!!!  

Get the wheels fully bolted on and set it back on the ground.  Time for a test drive!  And it doesn't start....  I mean what a surprise, I bet nobody saw that coming eh?!  

Right.  So lets see, every time I hit it with a touch of bump fluid it fires right up.  The fuel system is basically a Japanese Nippondenso version of a Bosch L-Jetronic.  The thermo-time switches and sometimes the cold start injector fail on those causing this exact problem.  Lets diagnose them!  So the valve gets 12v when cranking, check!  This means the thermo switch is good.  Pull out the injector and crank, doesn't spray.  Yay problem found, nice and easy!  Alright hit it with the starting fluid, NOTHING.  Killed the can trying to get it started.  

Crap.  Every other time it ran soon as it got bumped.  What failed NOW!?  I stare at it in disbelief, annoyance, and confusion for a bit, then crack the line to the injector.  Crank, no gas comes out.   

I crawl back underneath the rear with my meter.  She cranks it and the meter says it is getting power.  So wiring still checks out.  Smack the gas tank in annoyance, fires right up....   Alright, whatever.  It needs a fuel pump after all.  But the alternator is good.  So I let it run.  And after it warms up, this noise starts.  Sounds like a diesel suddenly.  I am a bit concerned.  After listening with a screwdriver (my stethoscope is at work, and I am supposed to be going out of town) I determine that the noise isn't coming from the motor.  I finally see it.  The alternator is shaking violently.  I put a pryer on it to steady it, the noise stops.  I should probably call it a night, but decide instead to finish wiring up the TPMS.  First spot it powers up instantly, with the truck off.  That won't work.  I get that sorted out and turn it on.  It starts screaming at me.  I spent half an hour trying to program it with the chinglish directions.  No luck.  Finally called it a night.  

Oh, and I discovered that the backup camera is missing the monitor.  Well that was pretty easy to figure out since it never showed up as we cleaned out  the RV.  But more annoyingly, I went and traced down the wires, and discovered that they were just for power.  Seems this setup it wireless.  They ran the power for the wireless setup, all the way to the front.  Because, oh who knows why...  So Amazon to the rescue again with a new backup camera for yet another $20.  This thing will $20 us into poverty...

So today I JUST have to change out the alternator, fuel pump, and program the TPMS.  What could possibly go wrong?  

Granted, the alternator is probably a broken bracket instead of the alternator itself.  I am betting on that, since my brand new welder is broken and the wire feed not working...  😂

Well time to get cracking on this!   

    

            

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Posted (edited)

Murphy is not a nice person.:ranting2:

When you pack for an overnighter at a local lake all is good and the Toy runs great. When you pack for a 3 week trip this sort of stuff is what happens. However fixing it at home is BETTER than replacing the alternator in the NAPA parking lot in nowhere SD.

Edited by WME

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Posted (edited)

Haha it sounds like you have very specific personal knowledge of that parking lot in SD!  😉  Yeah that sucked in my driveway!  It looked like I could get it out through the bottom, nope.  Figured that out AFTER I took a bath in antifreeze.  At least it was the proper Asian red stuff though!  I had to pull the shroud and fan, and then I was able to just barely slip it through.  

I probably could have fixed the issue without changing the alternator.  The bottom bolt was loose causing the noise.  But it had been like that a while and the hole was a bit oblong.  Also it had kicked out a few times and wasn't charging.  I don't know if it is an alternator issue, or a belt slip/low rpm one.  I will sleep a little easier knowing that it is now new. 

The next project was the fuel pump.  I measured 4 times, and drilled my pilot hole.  It was off.  So I corrected it, checked again, and thought I had it right.  Drilled the big hole.  Found I should have gone 2" closer to the outside.  I can get to everything, but that pressure side fitting I have to hit at an odd angle.  And it hasn't been off since it was made 33yrs ago.  So I soaked it a couple times with penetrating oil and called it a night.  

I can't tell if the inside fitting on the fuel pump assembly spins also, or just the outside one?  

WME, what do you think of the 22RE?  Awesome motor, but how does it do moving the 5000lb camper?  I am a little concerned about that.  

Although 'squirting and boosting the 22RE would cost almost nothing for me to do...  I may do that anyways just to get more modern engine management in there for better fuel economy AND power!  I already have everything on hand I need to do the conversion.  The turbo wouldn't be too expensive either.    

Edited by thewanderlustking

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Chrysler used left hand threads in the 60's. The 22RE injection was advanced for its day all of the new systems today mimic the old design with far better management. If you use a turbo it's fuel rate would have to be greater I guess that's OK because no matter what you did the milage will suck so you might as well have a bit more power. The stock 22RE will get you there but you need to realise you are driving something that has the aerodynamics of a brick so something like a turbo will basically give you a turbo brick. 13 MPG is pretty close to normal. Nothing beats displacement when you are hauling a lot of weight The 22RE is a good engine and does a yeoman's job moving 6,000 lb and the dang things last despite the punishment. Trust me when I tell you even with a 454 engine you are not going to want to drive any faster than you do with 134!

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More HP and better MPH,  you should be working for GM or Ford.😀 There several things that can be accomplished to make things better.

FWIW I went through with my engine. 2.5" exhaust, 270 degree cam, 2mm oversized valves, overbored TB, and a set of flowed injectors. The engine HP dyno  computers showed around 135hp. Made things better on the road, I lost a bit from the stop light, but over 15mph things were good. I pulled a 5x8 enclosed trailer for business and that's what the HP was for, especially  in the mountains.

Search around here for post about changing the rear axle ratio to 4.88. Makes a big difference.

The problem with more power is the temptation to use it and there goes the mpg.

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If I go turbo, I will change out the fuel management completely to MegaSquirt.  I might still do that even if I don't go turbo.  While the old management is decent enough, the air meter flapper is a major restriction and everything else about the fuel system can be easily improved upon.  And yes, while a turbo does require more fuel, getting that adjustability and knowing how to tune the system can get you back just as much in fuel savings, and the turbo sucks out.  I have seen better fuel mileage on more than a few prior installs.  The biggest difference is using modern engine management, and specifically modern wideband oxygen sensors.  I will defiantly document the install super well if I go in this direction.  I have some interesting challenges to work through.  The biggest one is actually driving a vehicle like this around to tune it...  

Good tip on the rear axle swap!  I am defiantly going to have a look into that.  

For now, I just want it to run though!  Running reliably would be an extra bonus.    

Today has been somewhat successful.  The new fuel pump is in and it starts and runs on that now.  New alternator is quiet, but the odd charging problems still persist.  And it isn't starting on the key/crank position.  Let's start with the last bit, I think they might be related.  

Alright so when we picked it up it wouldn't "crank" with the ignition switch.  There is a pushbutton switch to the left that with the ignition turned on fires it right up.  I replaced the blown 80amp fuse, fixed a bunch of wires attached to the positive battery terminal, and suddenly the ignition switch start was working again.  This worked fine for at least 4-5 days.  Changed out the alternator yesterday, now it isn't working from the ignition switch.  Only thing messed with being removing and replacing the positive terminal.

I have some theories involving the isolator and the starting relay, but ignore that for a bit.  In short, I am wondering if these issues only occur when the alternator is charging the house battery  

Moving onto the next oddity.  The alternator charging light is still coming on and when it is on the vehicle battery shows just battery voltage. After I plug it into shore power, it seems to go out pretty quickly and then the vehicle battery shows it is charging.  I don't know if this is simply how the system works because of the battery isolator automatic switch on the firewall, or if something else is going on.  

I am hesitant to head out with a battery light coming on, and not fully understanding how this system works...  Googled its operation, and trying to get my head wrapped around it.      

 

 

 

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Rear axle changes..http://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/index.php?/topic/9743-new-rear-end-gearing-question-456-488-or/.

Weird stuff the battery light can be linked to low brake fluid/emergency brake switch.

The key switch and the electrical contacts are two separate parts

Engine off, the shore power should not charge truck battery, unless you have a high dollar isolator. Got pictures? Take voltage readings at the isolator terminals.

Plan B instead of a turbo...http://www.roadkill.com/toyota-3rz-4-cylinder-engine-swap/#modal-5617

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Sure, I will take and post some pictures of that crap-pile shortly haha!  I think it is my problem, or more specifically the house battery.  It is almost flatlined.  It didn't even turn my battery tester on and when I checked it with a DVOM it was only showing 1.1volts.  I "think" the alternator light is on because the vehicle battery isn't charging, it is trying to charge the house battery instead.  Makes sense cause after I plug into shore power it is pretty easy to rev the motor up and the alternator light goes out.  

Oh, and this battery isolator is supposed to be bolted to the firewall I think, it has come loose.  It only has three terminals, and I suspect it may need to be grounded through the case.  Seems to still "sorta" work though.  

The voltage readings at the isolator terminals kept changing for me.  I will try to get solid numbers there too.  It could be poor tester connections, a flatlined house battery, bad main grounds (a very strong suspicion there), or several other factors.  

So, I defiantly have three batteries.  I have one in my closet that actually says "Solar" on it.  Looks like an AGM type but not 100% sure.  I didn't pull it out of its... case.  That doesn't appear to be connected to anything except maybe two of the three solar panels and the charge controller.  The terminals are loose and there is a cord dangling that would plug into an inverter, that is missing.  I have not tested this battery yet.  The brand new vehicle battery tests a bit weak.    

There is a third solar panel that is connected to another charge controller (I think), and no battery.  I have a loose cable coming out of it.       

I need to go take, and post, a bunch of pictures...  

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So how would you describe your wiring, a pile of spaghetti or a rats nest.

Your new BFF's are going to be a voltmeter and a case of beer. 

Disconnect the batteries and try using just a separate battery charger. See if they will come back to life.


P.S. How to charge a very dead AGM battery... https://www.optimabatteries.com/en-us/support/charging/resuscitate-deeply-discharged-battery

 

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"This thing will $20 us into poverty..."  that has been my progression for 4 weeks, when I got my Toy, LOL.  

WME - 2.5" exhaust sounds like a good thing.  Thats what I ran on my Datsun 510 in high school.  what kind of muffler did you put on it?  

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3 hours ago, WME said:

So how would you describe your wiring, a pile of spaghetti or a rats nest...

I would use another word I probably can't say here...  The ground for the "house" battery?  Is actual HOUSE wiring.  Like solid single strand should be in the wall wire....  I mean WTF?!  LOL!  If this wire has any place in an "automobile," this would not be the spot for it.  MAYBE on the AC side of things.  There is an actual house type breaker box in front of the hot water heater.  I am afraid to look closer at that.      

I am not reusing this marine deep cycle house battery.  While I might be able to recharge it (and I have several GOOD chargers I am sure I could save it if there was any chance) it is from 2007 and has massive corrosion on it.  It shows signs of having been overcharged/overdrawn multiple times with corrosion/leakage on the positive terminal, and also an overheated and melted negative house wire ground.    It has been "boiled" out.  And there is damage around it supporting this too.  The vent tube disintegrated and the exterior cover is also in pieces.  Bottom of tray was full of old dried out acid.  

There is a story written in the "forensic evidence" left and the little jobs done to this truck.  It tells of three owners and three different approaches to repairs..  I was actually able to piece together a pretty detailed version of its history including names and dates of ownership.  Here is the short version of that story.  Some of it is speculation and just putting the pieces together, but much of it is backed up with paperwork.

The first owner did very little.  It was brand new, why would he need to?  He left it completely stock and even kept all the warranty cards.  About the only addition he made was an air ionizer that he very likely already had, it looks older than 1986.  In 1994 he had the first issue, it didn't crank over.  It is probable he replaced the starter at this time (it has been replaced at least once).  That didn't't fix it though and he then bought the Haynes manual.  He was the one who wired up the starter switch, and saved the switch blank where he put it.  It doesn't seem that he did much more to it until 2007.  

In 2007 the charging light came on.  He replaced the alternator.  Didn't fix it.  After some digging around, he replaced the house battery.  For some reason shortly after this, he sold it on to the next owners.  I feel that he did these repairs to sell it on.  He took pride in this truck, but it looks like he barely used it.  The receipts show low mileage throughout his ownership.

Two females owned it next.  Pretty easy to jump to conclusions about them...  One attempted to do work to it herself, and appears to have botched up most of what she did.  When they got it they accessorized it to make it their own.  Put in a TV and VCR/DVD combo.  Installed the backup camera.  Added in a seat heater and a neck massager to the passenger seat.  And the worse mod, at some point put the first solar panel on the roof.  Looked like she was a big girl and I suspect this was just too much for the roof.     She did some other tasteless mods.  Adding in some badly aligned shelves, and one booby trap shelf in front of the microwave.  

Eventually she replaced the spark plugs, we can easily assume because of the truck developing a slight miss.  Didn't solve the issue.  Most likely that miss was caused by the low mileage of the first owner, and the tank being left empty in cold northern climate.  The fuel pump was going out.  Something happened in their life, and the other female likely was the one to sell it on.  They had racked up almost 20k miles on it.  

It wouldn't surprise me if she sold it because the charging light was coming on and off again.  Perhaps the other one was no longer around to fix the poor thing (thank goodness!).  

Owner number 3 was a contractor.  His story we have second hand, but directly from his friend who sold it to us.  So obviously some details were left out.  He was doing damage control at this point though.  He went in and reinforced the roof from above, and also from below.  He resealed everything, but seems to have missed the actual leak.  He added in  the wiring to the house battery and tried to get that back online.  It likely proved unreliable, and he added in the other two solar panels, the second charge controller, and the Stanley rolling toolbox to hold it all.  He disconnected some things like the backup camera, probably because they were causing a draw on the house system (yeah the backup camera appears to have been connected to the house battery, constantly!!!)  

Eventually, he gave up and tried to just recoup some of his losses.  He knew the vehicle itself was worth something.  Him and his buddy were going to sell it to somebody who wanted to rip the house off it and turn it into a flatbed.  To them it was mostly just an investment that they were getting upside down it.  He bought a new RV and no longer wanted this "old worn out" one.   

And we buy it, yay!  

There are some bits to the story I can't really pin down.  Like who on earth bought the hideous accent pillows.  We can assume that was the second owners, no male would have paid actual money for accent pillows like those...  Although most males also wouldn't have bothered or cared enough to throw them out either.  Tires have been replaced, but I didn't have all the receipts and dates sitting in front of me as I put the rest of the story together.  Pretty sure that happened more than once.

Another mess I can't figure out who did, was the engine bay wiring.  Both battery terminals have been replaced at some point.  Bad decisions made there...  

The AC compressor was removed and the lines taped up (with blue painters tape, very probably the last owner).         

So I have it running again.  My plans are to undo everything the second owners did.  That stuff left an angry mark on this poor truck's soul!  All of it is mostly out and fixed now.  TV and VCR gone, random accessories thrown out.  Most of the added jusk gone.  The shelf in front of the microwave, gone.  Backup camera (broken) gone.  I need to replace the plugs, wires, cap, and rotor.  I think that is the very last thing left from them.    

One thing is going to bother me from the original owner.  That start button.  I plan on leaving it there for now, or laziness/practicality wins and forever.  But I was starting it for 4-5 days with the ignition switch.  I want to figure out why that goes in and out.  Obviously something he fought with, but I suspect I accidentally stumbled across it in my repairs.  

I think I am going to put the "solar" battery back into the "house" battery case.  But not before I fix the bodged wiring they did.  

And the house factory wiring isn't as nice as it could be.  A few things could be repositioned, like the converter and the shureflow pump.  There is actually enough space there for a second house battery.  

Another annoying thing I found.  Somebody tossed the drinking water hose on top of the sewer line.  Gross!!!  

 

 

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1 hour ago, ModocMade said:

"This thing will $20 us into poverty..."  that has been my progression for 4 weeks, when I got my Toy, LOL.  

WME - 2.5" exhaust sounds like a good thing.  Thats what I ran on my Datsun 510 in high school.  what kind of muffler did you put on it?  

I'm way past the high school glass pack stage😎. What I used was the muffler for a Ford 3/4 ton pickup with a single exhaust and a 460 cid engine. Feeding the muffler with only 144 cubic inches didn't build any back pressure and the noise level was quiet and drone free

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1 hour ago, thewanderlustking said:

I would use another word I probably can't say here...  The ground for the "house" battery?  Is actual HOUSE wiring.  Like solid single strand should be in the wall wire....  I mean WTF?!  LOL!  If this wire has any place in an "automobile," this would not be the spot for it.  MAYBE on the AC side of things.  There is an actual house type breaker box in front of the hot water heater.  I am afraid to look closer at that.  

 

When I got my Escaper it took me 2 weeks to fix the DC wiring and I did electronics in the military for many years. IN the end it was worth hassle and expense of larger than its supposed be wiring (like 4-8 gauge instead of 8-12 gauge) Long single piece of wire runs were done.

The charge wire from the isolator was 5 or 6 pieces, 2 wire nuts and the just twisted and taped. When I was done I had picked up over 1.25v charging voltage at the battery.

Your headed down the correct path to having a much more enjoyable and relaxed time in your new RV.

The house circuit breaker box is normal install. Should be some thing like a 30 amp main and 2 10 or 15 amp breakers. One for house outlets/ microwave and the other for the roof AC.

Remember this is " how to eat an elephant" stuff

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Haha true that!  But I need to cut up and cook enough of that elephant to feed the missus.  Otherwise she might loose patience, sell the RV and head for McDonalds!!!  

I am used to "old car" projects having built up plenty of them.  My new car is a 2001 VW Golf.  My old daily driver is a 1977 VW Rabbit.  Neither are anywhere near close to how they came stock from the factory.  My limits are probably closer to two elephants.  Hers, not so much haha!!! 

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Posted (edited)

Well that is annoying...  Get it all back together and go to pull it off the ramps, nope.  No move.  At all.  Not even a twinge.  Check trans fluid, dry.  Put in a quart of fluid, still dry, 'cept for the small drip in the driveway.   "Hunny why didn't you check that before we spent all this money on everything else?!"  Um because without it running, can't check fluid...  

So off to spend the 5th or 6th $20 of the day on more fluid.  Perhaps we could have waited on the mount for a new TV though?  Oops.  But hey that was a good mount for only $20!  

I think the RV is getting named ND.  For Nickel and Dime...  

Edited by thewanderlustking

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Looks like you have some more electron chasing to do. Your missing quite a few clearance lights. they are a DOT requirement.

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WME I was writing this post when your notification popped up.  Within 5 minutes of you posting that, we were on our way out the door to Midnight RV Depot!  AKA, Walmart lol!  Dude there was this one guy that was all wigged out on something and gave ME the creeps.  I am usally the scary one LOL!  

Thank you, I did not know that!  I mean sure I was going to get them all working, eventually.  They look cool anyways!  But I knocked two off cleaning the dirty thing and one lens broke.  I upgraded to all LED ones, although I didn't see incandescent ones, or even bother to look.  Normally I prefer incandescent bulbs on the older cars.  This time I planned on all LED right from the beginning.  

Alright, first test drive was a roaring success!  By roaring, kinda referring to the exhaust leak, but hey whatever.  A new exhaust manifold I can hang a turbo off of will fix that.  So would my welder, after I fix the welder...  

I had one odd thump/rattle somewhere from the right side.  Could be anything, like the stove bits or the other stuff sliding around back there.  Or it could be a suspension component.  Meh.  Not too worried about it yet.  I do need to double check wheel torque though...  

The headlights light up nothing, especially not the road.  Those will have to get changed out soon and aimed.  I happen to have a big box full of sealed beam bulbs.  I likely have the right ones.  But sealed beams are still going to suck.  I will probably change out to some H4 type setup and relay the bulbs.  But for now I at least have some new ones on hand.      

I promised pictures, they will come shortly!  Sorry for the bad video formatting.  I should have handed her a real camera.  Not used to working with videos.  

We have a few more luxury things to sort out, and then hopefully going camping (close by of course) tomorrow!!!!  By luxury, I want my TPMS fully working, the new backup camera installed, the hole in the floor to access the fuel pump filled in (although I could use it for a sweep out spot...), and a table.  Oh, and got to figure out if the water system actually works.     

.........

Alright I got my TPMS setup fully, well almost fully working now.  I have one sensor not talking, but it was on the equalizer I just repaired.  The rest had actually popped up when I test drove it.  I had gotten over zealous with the solder on that fitting.  I had to redo it.  I also have the monitor displaying in BAR and Celsius.  I need to get it displaying in PSI at least, and setup the low/high warnings.   

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Oh and I am sure that the Staties might also frown on me driving around with a blue tarp on the roof...

Speaking of driving, it really didn't feel too bad.  At least around the neighborhood power seemed okay.  It feels a touch heavy, but I quickly forgot I was driving a 21' RV.  It wasn't too bad.  

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Posted (edited)

Midnight at Wal-Mart around here looks like a script from Steven King..

Clanking and banging...yes the stove/oven. But most common is badly worn suspension bushings. NAPA has both poly and rubber replacement kits.A suspension working as designed makes a big improvement in the wind and on windy roads. The Toy homes actually do fairly good in the driving department. Their short comings are are wind and hills Of course some power helps too.

The three bolt header to down tube connection is a sore point for exhaust leaks, especially if the system has been messed with. PS after market down tubes mostly suck, but with a turbo that's a moot point..

Toyota did a factory 22RET  turbo set up, so if you want to really lean on the boost there are proper pistons out there.

I switched my headlights to E-spec H4 with the relay setup. Made things almost doable. So says the ex-rally driver, who was used to gigawatt lighting.

Here's an easy fix for the fuel pump hole...https://www.amazon.com/Dovewill-Marine-Round-Inspection-Hatch/dp/B074BSHFGM

 

 

image.png

Edited by WME

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Sorry the computer decided to attach the post itself and it won't let me delete attachment

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1 hour ago, WME said:

I switched my headlights to E-spec H4 with the relay setup. Made things almost doable. So says the ex-rally driver, who was used to gigawatt lighting.

 

 

Hehe why you think I want the H4 housings?!  I order 120/180w rally H4 bulbs from England.  They usally arrive in 3-4 days and cost less than what I would buy normal bulbs for locally.  If the headlights are aimed right, they don't bother other drivers on low.  Flashing the high beams will make them swerve though!  

That inspection cover idea is PERFECT!  Cheap, quick, and elegant.  I am ordering one.  Thank you!  

Yeah, I want to find some details and study the factory turbo setup in depth.  I doubt I would add more than 13-15psi.  Usally that is safe on factory pistons with a properly tuned setup.  Funny thought, the pump the tuners use for water injection is already installed, along with a 30 gallon (well whatever size it is) water reservoir haha!!!    

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Crappppppp.....  Got everything done, and loaded it up ready to go.  Put it in reverse, NOTHING.  $%#& @$$ )$@(....  

Yesterday, I pulled forward out of the driveway, and then pulled forward back in.  So I never used reverse.  I didn't reverse it off the ramps as she thought I was too close to the gutters on the house.  

Anyways posted a thread over here...

I grabbed a digital rebuild manual off eBay.  Also have a paper on on its way.  I seriously f-ing hate automatic transmission fluid.  It makes me break out and itch.  I went through like ten pairs of gloves changing the filter out last night.     

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Posted (edited)

Well as I was thinking about this and posting in the other thread, I realized I HAD reversed it down the driveway Saturday to pressure wash up the mess from the other night.  I have some good information now and a direction to investigate there.  I am going to have to be optimistic it is a simple and hopefully cheap/free repair.  

The comedy/tragedy continues.  

So right after we didn't leave Saturday, the sky opened up.  About an hour later we got a call from the RV Park/Lodge we had made a reservation at.  She was calling to make sure we were okay, and to warn us the river was rising.  The rain was so bad there that she was stuck and couldn't even get out of the parking lot.  She happily refunded our reservation. 

Today we had to go up North for an emergency errand and ended up about 20 minutes away, so decided to stop in and check it out.  Even in our little AWD Subaru, the slips down near the river were flooded and we couldn't safely get down there.  The upper lot was still pretty bad, but manageable with AWD.

When I went to unpack last night, the rain had mostly subsided, but water was just pouring in from the roof.  The previously damaged panels were completely soggy.  I got it unloaded and then started pulling down the soggy junk.  Even staying away from the steady streams here and there, I got dowsed 2-3 times with water just pouring down that had been stuck up there in pockets.  

Good news is I see rust.  It looks like there are steel beams going across the ceiling.  From on top it feels pretty good and looks basically straight.  Once I pulled the luan off underneath, it looked like that was the sagging part.  

Where the majority of the water seemed to be coming from was exactly where the front solar panels had just been screwed down to the aluminum roof with no reinforcement underneath.  Everything was glued in with some sort of construction grade adhesives, so I couldn't get enough of the pink insulation panels (another clue it was not OEM) pulled down to find the leak for certain.  

After work tomorrow (well today now I guess) I need to get in there and clean out the soggy mess I pulled down, and try to dig out some more to find the actual leak or leaks.  So I guess it went better than it could have.  I can see us having gotten flooded, stuck, and with water pouring in through the roof.  Pretty sure at that point we would have sold the thing to the first person to hand us $20 and a ride home.  

Gotta remind myself, I only have a solid week of work into this so far.  If I find/fix the leak and get it reversing and driving this week, I still have the rest of the summer left to get it sorted out and do the fun stuff like renovations!  Kinda sucks that I spent my whole vacation fixing it and didn't get just one night out in it, but the missus and I got plenty of rest and enjoyed ourselves at least.  And instead of paying for a fancy vacation that we just have pictures to show for, we now have an RV sitting in our driveway.  It even runs!  Just doesn't reverse....  Technicalities.  I think it is still dryer than a tent too.  🤣

  

Edited by thewanderlustking

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Posted (edited)

Eternabond tape...http://www.eternabond.com/RV-Leak-Repair-Products-s/22.htm

Proseal 34...http://www.prosealproducts.com/productDisplay1.asp-id=278.html

Add a coat of Elastomeric coating for a more permanent fix. a couple of gallons will do the entire roof with two coats...https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/roofing-soffits-gutters/roof-coating/sealbest-white-elastomeric-roof-coating-9-gal/1531811/p-1444444994270-c-5822.htm?tid=-5407131749131224559&ipos=5

Quick and dirty dry in the roof, prevent further damage. Then after you fix the transmission, you can repair the ceiling and any structural damage.at your own pace.

Water will run a long way from the point of leak. Other common leaks are the clearance lights and the roof AC gasket

Edited by WME

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, WME said:

WME,  this seems like a good price on elastomeric coating;

https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/roofing-soffits-gutters/roof-coating/sealbest-white-elastomeric-roof-coating-4-75-gal/1531824/p-1444444994815-c-5822.htm?tid=-6654629901059265087&ipos=1

DO you think the Menard's coatings are different than the higher priced brands?  

Edited by ModocMade
wrong spot

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Just go to any of the big box stores and look at the warranties on the sealers. Menards doesn't make the stuff, they just buy it and sell it.

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Posted (edited)

No real progress made this week.  I tore down a good bit of the ceiling paneling to access and asses the leak.  Pretty convinced it it that solar panel on the passenger side.  Some idiot screwed it right into the roof with self tapper bolts and no for of sealant that I can see.  It also appears to be the one bolt above the cabinets, requiring their removal also.  I also see another suspect spot.  Waiting for a dry day or so to get up there with the hose.  

I did manage to clean up that mess I made doing this though.  

Didn't get the reverse sorted out yet.  Haven't had a chance with a crazy work week.  Good news though, means more funds to fix it up!

I DID manage to get the TPMS system fully online and programed.  Now it reads PSI instead of BAR and the pressure alerts are set where I want them.  I discovered that if I unscrew the sensors, they stop transmitting once they are below 1psi for a certain amount of time.  But they also have replaceable batteries so I am not sure if I will bother.  Super happy with the setup!  

Been watching Keep Your Daydream videos, super inspirational!  I have to realize that all of this now is part of the process for that later.  

Edited by thewanderlustking

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On 7/22/2019 at 2:07 AM, WME said:

Wow, that is spendy stuff right there...  

 

On 7/22/2019 at 2:07 AM, WME said:

Water will run a long way from the point of leak. Other common leaks are the clearance lights and the roof AC gasket

And AC Gasket for the win!!!  Sorta.  Maybe?  I dunno.  LOL!  (I think I also have a leak in the front where the clearance light are supposed to be.)  

We did some actual "digging" into this problem.  Started by removing almost half the water logged ceiling panels, then ripping down the pink foam insulation and anything else in the way.  Eventually, I found a single tiny pinhole in the roof.  But it did not seem to correspond to any of my suspects.    

So I got up on the roof with the hose and hit the suspect spots with a hose.  Nothing happened.  I spent about half an hour up there before putting the water to the OTHER side of the roof, that's when it FINALLY started leaking.  It took a while to find the spot though.  Reaching underneath the ac cover I found a spot where the rubber membrane had pulled away.  As soon as I stuck the hose there it started pouring in, on the other side...  I don't think it is the AC gasket specifically?  But it appears to be going underneath the built up rubber coating and traveling over to either a corrosion blow through hole, or a somehow compromised spot on the roof.  

Yeah, so the AC cover has to come off for better inspection.  But a problem.  It hurts to move around up there.  I am doing a balancing act on the reinforcement beams up there.  Ideally, I would have some teak runner planks for maneuverability.  But I don't see being up there often enough to make that worthwhile once the roof is finally fixed.  This looks like a problem that has plagued the last couple owners.  I think for now a plywood runner I can just set up there will get it done.  

In the real world, house chores have gotten away from me the last two weeks.  So I am catching up on those and daydreaming of a repaired roof, and an RV that backs up.  If I am having a really awesome dream, the backup camera is hooked up and working too!     

 

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P.S. The top half of the AC cover comes off from the outside. The lower half is held on by 4 long screws/bolts from the inside. To replace the gasket these are what you need to remove. Gaskets are universal and cheap

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Cool, good to know!  I didn't think it was going to be too hard to do.  I am curious to see exactly where/what the water is traveling through over to the compromised spot.  Well it is POURING rain and thunderstorms today and I have zero leakage inside now.  We got a better, grey tarp and have the whole roof properly covered up.  

I need to do some more research, but it seems the battery for the solar setup is from a really top notch company.  The house battery was beyond cooked and I am thinking I will put the solar battery down in its spot.  But I need to figure out how to integrate all the systems.  

At the moment it is sitting up on some ramps with the transmission fluid draining out.  Even though it was just done and no miles have been put on it, I am getting pretty dark fluid back out.  I will pull the pan off shortly, fix the oil tube back up, and then put it back together and see what happens.  Maybe she will be backing up off the ramps tonight!!!  

And.... Nope.  That didn't fix it.  Crap.  

 

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I think my plan is changing slightly...  As I mentioned over in my transmission thread, today I decided to back the RV up, and it worked!  My driveway has enough downward slope I knew I could get it rolling a little, but it actually backed up under its own power.  

So whatever I decide to do about the transmission woes, I am thinking I want to focus on the other little projects I have already gotten the parts for, and also get the roof and ceiling fixed up.  While the grey tarp is keeping the water out and has let things dry out, I am sure it is a touch more of an eyesore to the neighbors.  I need the roof leak fixed.  And I want to get the interior back to a usable zero point.  The transmission is actually a small job to tackle from a physical and time standpoint.  It is just potentially expensive.  The other things will take more time, but aren't really big money outlays.  I need to save up for the transmission (or grab a used one) so right now I have the time to devote to the other things.  

I am also thinking that once I get the backup/rearview camera installed I can actually get it out on the road some around town.  It will give me a better idea if I have anything else going on with the transmission, or perhaps if I can even trust it for a couple outings (probably staying close by lol).  

Also, this thing just needs to get used and proven.  As of yet I don't know if the fridge works, since it has never been parked level enough.  I haven't filled the freshwater tank or plugged into "city" water to see if those systems work.          

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