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Otolith

Advice on 1981 Sunrader

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Having recently sold my 1990 Liteace European Campervan, I have been looking at other options.

I put a holding deposit on an 18' 1981 Sunrader. All original besides new fridge, stove, and oven. The owner has owned and regularly used it for 17 years. It has 145k (claimed) miles. Better than average condition I would say. Some rust spots at bottom of windshield. No fiberglass damage. Judging by the MDF near the floor, it looks like the dinette area has had a little water intrusion in one corner. Couldn't tell if it was coming from the vent outside or what. 

Rear axle replaced with dually. 

 

1. How is the 20r engines in these? Seems like it would be way underpowered but drove ok just around the block. I'm sure freeway speeds are ok I just wonder about climbing hills with multiple people / full tanks. 

2. The ceiling panels are uneven. Is this typical? Or, an issue in the construction? I am 6' and unable to stand in most of the interior. 

3. Any advice on things to inspect before purchasing?

 

Cheers

 

 

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Forgot the photo. 

Owner has all the original manuals. Has some original hubcaps, stickers, plus full carburetor ready to be installed. 

Just because I'm still on the fence about following through with the deal, the price is $6k. Which seems pretty fair to me. It is just tough buying a 40 year old machine. 

IMG-0612.jpg

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Thanks Derek.

That’s one of the few things I am aware of on these rigs.

They installed a true dually rear axle with all receipts and photos

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Now that I think about it, the rood was concave in on one side. Am I correct in assuming this is not normal? May also explain the ceiling being uneven inside.

ways to fix this?

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If you meant "roof" it is a common problem on these Toys usually caused from the weight of the rooftop AC bouncing up and down for 30 years.

Here is how I fixed mine.

I think the easiest fix would be to just put up some poles from the inside which is explained on some other posts but I could not figure out a way to do that on mine.

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Thanks Ed. This model doesn’t have ac but definitely has the roof sag. I like the idea of putting fiberglass ribs on the roof.

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I don't have any advice on whether or not you should buy it, but I recently bought a 85 sunrader with some similar issues showing but overall seemed in good shape and solid. After pulling up some cabinets I found a rotten floor that needed replaced and am working on installing rafters in the roof to prop it back up. Basically what I thought would be a fixer-upper has turned into an entire gut a rebuild of the rig, along with adding structural supports to both the floor and roof to prop them up. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's actually kinda fun in some ways, but you might want to consider how much work you really wanna do and give a really close inspection of the vehicle. The floors were not supported well and tend to sag, as well as the common roof sagging issue. Several other members on here are going through a similar experience with a sunrader as well. Here's the thread of my rebuild if your interested in what I've had to do so far.

http://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/index.php?/topic/11856-sunrader-floor-repair-gut-and-rebuild/

And here's Rick's thread on his rebuild and some of my floor experience as well.

http://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/index.php?/topic/11826-help-with-rotten-floor-sunrader/

Dunno if this helps at all but might give you an idea on what your getting into potentially.

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3 minutes ago, JaySam said:

I don't have any advice on whether or not you should buy it, but I recently bought a 85 sunrader with some similar issues showing but overall seemed in good shape and solid. After pulling up some cabinets I found a rotten floor that needed replaced and am working on installing rafters in the roof to prop it back up. Basically what I thought would be a fixer-upper has turned into an entire gut a rebuild of the rig, along with adding structural supports to both the floor and roof to prop them up. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's actually kinda fun in some ways, but you might want to consider how much work you really wanna do and give a really close inspection of the vehicle. The floors were not supported well and tend to sag, as well as the common roof sagging issue. Several other members on here are going through a similar experience with a sunrader as well. Here's the thread of my rebuild if your interested in what I've had to do so far.

http://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/index.php?/topic/11856-sunrader-floor-repair-gut-and-rebuild/

And here's Rick's thread on his rebuild and some of my floor experience as well.

http://toyotamotorhome.org/forums/index.php?/topic/11826-help-with-rotten-floor-sunrader/

Dunno if this helps at all but might give you an idea on what your getting into potentially.

Yes that’s a big help actually I haven’t looked at the floors much. I did notice devious water in one side of the dinette which has swelled the particle board. Probably points to probability of floors having issues. I’ll need to do a more in depth inspection.

thanks

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No problem. I didn't discover my floor issues until I pulled out all the water tanks and the propane tanks and then found this waiting for me underneath. I pulled all that wood up with my fingers it was so rotten and moldy. The floor had sunk about 1" over the frame as well, you might be able to tell if that's the case by looking underneath the vehicle. You can see in the second pic how much it sunk, the bottom of the plywood should be flush with the fiberglass. Sunrader didn't build a support structure for the 'wings' of the body over the rear axle, then they decided to load them up with all the water tanks, propane tanks and batteries for the coach. I think this also contributes to the roof problems.

 

20200102_151605.jpg

floorsag.jpg

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Yikes. Well it looks like a fun project but not something I would have time for. It’s also not as fun if it’s a surprise project :)

I’ll have to spend some time digging around in and under the vehicle when I go see it tomorrow.

thanks again I appreciate the help 

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This is off-topic for the post. 

Anyone know the interior height differences between the Sunrader and Chinook? The bandit looks like a really good design but seem to be very hard to find. 

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Well.... I bought it! :)

Now to prioritize all the things that need to be fixed.

First off, serpentine belt needs changing ASAP it has a very worn spot in it. Anyone have a 20r with A/C? I can’t see how in the heck the belt is de-tensioned. The track on the mount doesn’t loosen the belt at all.

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Post a picture of the AC compressor and belts. Most of these Toy homes came with aftermarket A/Cs and each brand is different.

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One of the top connections on the compressor is broken and can’t receive a bolt. 

Also a photo showing the serpentine belt worn thin in one spot.

 

6F11D1A6-A978-45EB-ABDB-168084B7E9B2.jpeg

137E7935-D047-4863-8F62-64F490258732.jpeg

58D4863D-0645-483D-B867-4AE046FF494C.jpeg

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9 hours ago, Derek up North said:

I've no 22RE, so the best I can offer is this, starting page ~207.

 

https://toyotachinook.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/how-to-keep-your-toyota-pickup-alive/

 

 

 

 

How to keep your Toyota Pickup alive.jpg

Looks like I have aftermarket or at least different AC compressor. I can imagine they broke the compressor mount trying to get a belt on. 
That book is awesome!

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1. Derek is right somebody broke an ear off the compressor.

2. Your missing this...https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Conditioner-EC-0008C-Eccentric/dp/B003R3ZG0G/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ec0008c+idler+pulley&m=A13BLDU2WSRY6U&qid=1582780117&s=merchant-items&sr=1-1

Also the pulley and bolt. The bracket comes in different heights to provide proper belt alignment. Your system looks like it is using a standard cogged v-belt, check the number on it.

3. Here is a very poor picture of how things go. Maybe Derek can dig up a better one....https://autoacsolutions.com/products/ac-kits/1984-1985-1986-1987-1988-1989-1990-1991-1992-1993-1994-1995-toyota-pickup-and-4-runner-air-conditioning-add-on-kit/

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Thanks for the help everyone. I cut the AC belt and replaced the serp and it’s running well. Everything inside is working great (besides the fridge only working when the truck is running).

 

It’s a bit odd. When I go to the auto stores, they say that the 20r wasn’t in the 1981 trucks. The valve cover says 20r. 
It could either be:

Stock 20r?

22r head?

Swapped for 20r?


Does anyone know how to tell if the block is a 20r or 22r? 

 


 

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4 hours ago, Otolith said:

Thanks for the help everyone. I cut the AC belt and replaced the serp and it’s running well. Everything inside is working great (besides the fridge only working when the truck is running).

 

It’s a bit odd. When I go to the auto stores, they say that the 20r wasn’t in the 1981 trucks. The valve cover says 20r. 
It could either be:

Stock 20r?

22r head?

Swapped for 20r?


Does anyone know how to tell if the block is a 20r or 22r? 

 


 

Chances are your cab and chassis is a 1980. Many motorhome manufacturers bought several at one time. When the vehicle was completed is was assigned a model year number. So your 1981 mh could have a 1980 drivetrain. Go with the 20R for engine parts.

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3 minutes ago, fred heath said:

Chances are your cab and chassis is a 1980. Many motorhome manufacturers bought several at one time. When the vehicle was completed is was assigned a model year number. So your 1981 mh could have a 1980 drivetrain. Go with the 20R for engine parts.

Ah that makes a lot of sense thanks

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Very possible he doesn't have a 17 digit vin. Can't check year from the early ones. If he does the year is determined by the 10th digit. A is 1980 and B is 1981

Linda S

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2 hours ago, linda s said:

Very possible he doesn't have a 17 digit vin. Can't check year from the early ones. If he does the year is determined by the 10th digit. A is 1980 and B is 1981

Linda S

Actually the vin is just 5 digits. All numbers. It is a 1981 per the vin. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Otolith said:

Actually the vin is just 5 digits. All numbers. It is a 1981 per the vin. 

 

 

I've never heard of a '5 digit' VIN. Got a picture?

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Maybe your are confusing the VIN (vehicle identification number) with the Motor Home ID number. The VIN is Toyota and the ID is Sunrader

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Yeah the licencing department people were confused too. But it came up in their system correctly. I also have a stack of records for the vehicle including previous registrations. Strange huh?

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Where I am, the only thing that counts is the Toyota VIN. Anything assigned by a motorhome manufacturer isn't in the system.

 

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1 hour ago, Derek up North said:

 

I've never heard of a '5 digit' VIN. Got a picture?

My toyhome has a 4 digit vin

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All of the registrations show the 5 digit vin. The chassis has a manufacture plate that is stamped “2/80” but I can’t find a vin in the typical spots. Not sure if this means 2 of 80 or 2nd in ‘80. 
 

It has the taller curved front windows that seem like they ended around 1980/1981.

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Trying to buy parts for the TOYOTA part of your Sunrader will not be helped knowing the Sunrader ID number. You'll only be helped by the TOYOTA VIN.

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FWIW the 17 digit VIN wasn't required until 1981. The RN number is sometime used or it seems the coach number can be used

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WME, you’re correct. Lacking a 17 digit VIN, the chassis is definitely an 1980.

The early Toyota ID plates attached to the inner drivers side fender also contains such information as engine type, transmission type, and rear axle type. When in doubt, refer to this information.

Attached is a typical ID plate.

ED6F72FB-64B0-414C-A852-F38C86C741E4.jpeg

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