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desertrat

What's your rig and where's it at?

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We (wife, two kids, dog and myself) just stepped into a 85' Escaper. 40k miles with the 22re. Very clean rig. Haven't even taken it on the maiden voyage yet. Love this site, what a wealth of info. Saved my behind already with the whole 5 lug rear axle issues. This one has the heavy 6 lug dually, otherwise I wouldn't have got near it. Thanks guys for the info and time you invest into this site. Without your knowledge we rookies would be learning the hard way!! Northern Minnesota up in Gods country..

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Edited by Wannagos

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What a beauty - our maiden trip with our 22r-e was 10, 583 miles - only problem was a blown brake light! Enjoy - you have a sweet rig!

 

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New here,and new to Toyota Motorhomes.

I live in Milwaukie,Oregon.

Bought my 1984 Sandtana Phoenix last month,and just got back from a 3 day trip to Central Oregon.

Had a mishap with the house battery,but otherwise all went well!

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Edited by Darrin M.
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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..

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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?!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Sigmaz
Made a mistake

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13 minutes ago, Sigmaz said:

 

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.

*snip*

What the...

How did you clean it?

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Just now, 256bit said:

What the...

How did you clean it?

First I sprayed the entire thing down with Dollar store degreaser ("Awesome") and then blasted it off with a pressure washer.

It still needs to be Zepped but for now I just wanted to make it not look like it was abandoned.

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what a great story. I am sure you will telling your story around many future camp fires. good luck, welcome, and keep us posted on your progress, the pics were awesome. joe from dover

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Sigmaz, I's a great story that will get completely lost in this massive thread. Please post this all over again in your own thread with a title something like Sunrader rescue. I can't move just your post. There is so much cool information in this huge thread that no one will ever see again. I hate it

Linda S

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I live in Portland, Oregon, and about five years ago I was actively searching for a Toyota motorhome.  I was planning on retiring in December 2015 and wanted a small motorhome to travel south to my home in Merida, Mexico, where I spend the winters.  Every one I saw that was reasonably priced was snatched up quickly and I just wasn't interested in a total remodel project.  In July of 2015 I saw this ad posted on Craigslist for a 1988 Sunrader that had 45,000 miles and the asking price was $5,999 out of Seattle.  I didn't bother to respond to the ad because I knew (1) it was either fake or (2) I was the 50th person in line.  The week went by and kept seeing the ad so I decided to give the seller a call.  It turned out to be an older gentleman who was returning to Seattle the coming weekend to show the vehicle.  He said, "I literally had a hundred people call from all over the nation."  He told me he had agreed to show it to people Saturday morning.  I called him back the next morning and said, "I'll give you $7,000 cash and I'll meet you Friday afternoon."  After a few phone calls back and forth he agreed.  I took the bus up to Seattle and had a friend meet me who drove to me over to his place.  This little motorhome had been sitting in his backyard for 20+ years and he would occasionally take it out on a trip.  He hadn't used it in about 8 years.  He had it running when we pulled up and it purred.  I went inside the interior was in mint condition.  A little musty from being closed up for five years but nothing a little airing out wouldn't cure.  He also had the refrigerator running, we turned on the water heater and furnace and both kicked on immediately.  After some talking we realized our paths had crossed and we knew a lot of the same people (both of us were from Montana).  I paid him and my friend followed me to about SeaTac and then I was on my way.  We made it home in one piece.  It needed a lot of TLC and I've replaced most of the pumps, hoses, belts, batteries, alternator, tires, muffler, changed all the fluids, re-caulked around the windows and gave it good cleaning.   I had started the process to become a permanent resident of Mexico in the fall of 2015.  After I purchased the Sunrader I was talking to a friend in Mexico and she said, "You can't drive the motorhome into Mexico.  As a permanent resident, you can't bring any vehicle into Mexico that's older than 2008."  I went back to the Mexican Consulate in Portland and spoke to the consular staff and yes, it was true.  I can't, as a permanent resident, bring this vehicle into Mexico.  Even though my plan of driving back and forth from Mexico didn't happen, I still enjoy using this each summer in the Pacific Northwest.  I even sleep it in it when the temperatures hit 90 or above.  The air conditioning is ice cold.  Since I've owned it, I've had about five or six people come up to the house asking if it was for sale.  My last project ... I found an almost brand new Onan 2800 microlite generator for $500 (another long story) and am going to have it installed next week.  

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Hi All,

I just bought a 1986 Sunland Express (rear dining) with 84k miles.  It is mostly in original condition, which isn't too bad.  I looked for a while, and my girlfriend was skeptical until she stepped inside and saw the potential.  

This forum is great, and helped give me confidence that I could take on fixing the previous owner's mistakes and maintaining this little rig as it continues to age.  Thanks!

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Edited by tofuricer

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1991 national dolphin.. located in Concord Ca  newbie to RVs. Loved this Toyota., 15 k orig miles. So we bought it paid 11900.

still looking for a manual tho

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Jeff1
Trim photos

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Thank you!

 

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Hi all!

Long time lurker here. Never really introduced myself but have benefited greatly from all the wonderful people on thIs forum.

A little about myself. Native to Los Angeles where I still live. Grew up with two  Toyota Dolphins that my father purchased when I was around 6 or 7. First one was a mini Dolphin which he then sold and purchased a 22ft Dolphin. When he lost his job and had to relocate us to Miami, we packed up and drove it cross country.

Fast forward a few years and I am back in LA on my second Toyota motorhome. First one an 85 Dolphin that I couldn’t keep up with the maintenance at the time , and now my 88 Sunrader Shorty.(which I will never sell).

Bought it from a very nice young couple that needed the cash for their first home. They were sad to sell it as they had been looking for this exact model for over 2 years. I assured them it would go to a good ,home which it definitely  has. I was lucky enough to spot the posting on Craigslist 15 minutes after it had been posted. Sellers location was 30 minutes away. Called immediately and the owner told me his phone was already blowing up with offers. I was at his house in 20 minutes! Shook hands and the next morning met him at a bank and drove off with a huge smile on my face.

49K miles when I bought it. (60k now), auto, great condition for its age.

 

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got a 1986 Toyota Escaper. 4 cyl 22re rides like a top. Not fast, but strong. 

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Is anyone at Quartzsite AZ this year?  I have only seen one other Dolphin... I'm boondocking at the RTR site

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There is a Toyota rally every year at Quartzite but doesn't start until the 19th. It's organized by Tika  who has doing this for years. If your willing to stay a while you can call her and find out where they will be.   626-798-4510 This is a business number and might have message system on Just leave your phone number and she will get back to you I'm sure

Linda S

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Thanks Linda, not sure what my situation is.  If I don't score a workcamper job in NM or AZ before then, I expect I'll be here.

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PS - while I share your general avoidance response to crowds etc. that you mentioned in previous posts, I have to say that this has been amusing so far.  And amazingly quiet.  Especially at night.  Pin drop quiet.  I have been able to keep to myself as much as I want and be entertained the rest of the time by the variety of eccentric vehicles and their drivers here.  Some quite ingenious.  The broad spectrum of ages, genders, socio-economic, countries, yadda yadda differences appear to be represented well.  It seems to be an exercise in tribal affiliation.  And that starts with "whaddya drivin'?"

Not likely to do it again, but I'm glad I came this time.

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My “Lil Putt” is a 1984 Toyota Sunrader.  We live on the Central Coast of CA.  We plan to travel together as soon as we are both in tip top shape (late Spring / early Summer).  Lil Putt is my very 1st RV!!!  (Just sold my 1979 Ford econoline Chateau / traveled for 18 mos and 25,000 around the USA in that van).  The Sunrader is a handful on these steep hills where we live (she’s a 4 speed manual) but I’m getting used to it.  LOVE that she fits in my driveway and most public pkng spots!  Happy to be a part of the Totoyota mini motor home group!

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Edited by roadtriprachel
4 speed NOT 5 speed manual

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Our little family moved from Kauai last October into a 1991 Winnebago Warrior! Her name is Lucille.  Based in Chula Vista, CA but we are full time with our two boys ages 21 months and 3.5.  

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Bufbooth, I’m in Watsonville! 

Big shout out! 

 

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this is my Rig. Its located here in Reno. So far its been amazing

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This is my new to me 1982 Toyota Dolphin. Living in Moncton New Brunswick Canada. The vehicle was driven down from California. Never seen a winter yet. 137K miles

 

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I looked back over the last three years and see that I apparently never posted my coach(s) or my location!

I’m Bob, and live in and around the greater Portland, OR area. You can find me in a few other forums as “a2ndopinion” - the name of my business - “A Second Opinion.” My family is in and around the Beaverton area, but since moving into a Toyota mini three years ago, I’ve been all over the greater Pdx area - Oregon City, Fairview, Salem, and am just now leaving Kelso, WA for Yamhill, OR. 

I started out with a very good looking ‘87 Dolphin, but it developed massive water leaks, so I’ve all but abandoned it for this ‘85 Sunrader that I bought from member “Kale” a year ago.

The way I understand it, he bought it midway through a rehab, so (attempted) to finish it, but he was not a carpenter, plumber, electrician or mechanic - or, as being a 15 year US Navy Seabee Construction Mechanic, I say he was not a BU, UT, CE or CM. All of the cabinet doors that he converted from opening sideways to opening up are hung crooked and he’d filled all of the latch holes with expanding foam, he took the battery out of its box and just put it in the cabinet, open with no external venting, the water pump doesn’t hold residual pressure...

But he did install a larger, 3-way fridge, a bigger inverter, bigger furnace, backup camera, composting toilet ($1,000), all new shocks and brakes ($2,400), left the oil cap off and blew the engine ($2,400 fresh rebuild), nice stereo, cell/internet signal booster ($350) and more. Then reverse failed, and he gave up, and took my Grand Theft Auto stupid cheap offer. 

I have two A43D transmissions in storage (long story), but have decided to go a different way. My daily driver is a Lexus LS400, and is my second. I parted the first one out, and kept all of the wiring - from the headlights to the seats, engine (1UZ 4.0L all aluminum DOHC V8), and transmission (A340E). I have a friend who has an ‘87 Toyota 4Runner, which originally came with the 22RET. When he rebuilt and modified it, he converted to a W58 manual trans, so I bought the A340H trans and transfer case. I’m about to take the two transmissions to my good buddy at TransAction Transmissions in Banks, OR and get “it” rebuilt, with the Lexus brains and bellhousing, but the 4Runner t-case, and will then swap in all of the LS400 electrical and engine, and then at a future date will swap in an IFS front diff from a mid 80s P/U / 4Runner. 

Ill start my own thread when I do, hopefully like what’s his name (sorry) did with his 1UZ swap a few years ago. 

BTW,  a bit about myself -

I started studying mechanics in Jr high school with lawn mower/go cart/ mini bike engines, then graduated to motorcycle engines in high school - until I started driving, then it was cars, cars, cars, and I spent summer school in the auto shop, including adult education classes too.

In college, I took semesters of carburation (it was a long time ago), tune up, analysis, rebuilding, machining, auto body, paint, and frame straightening. 

I then spent 15 years in the US Navy as a Construction Mechanic (Seabees), where I worked on everything “from lawn mowers to earth movers”. I was the second CM in the Navy to become a certified crane mechanic. 

After getting out, I took my ASE exams, and became certified as an ASE Master Auto Tech, Master Truck Tech, Master Machinist, and Master Autobody Specialist.

I now do, and have been doing for the last 20 years, mechanical damage inspections for warranty companies, used vehicle inspections, etc, and have appeared in, and won court cases based on my mechanical knowledge.

I have been working on Toyota 20/22R/REs since we bought my (ex)wife a ‘79 Celica in ‘96, and then “specialized” in them (on the side), performing a few rebuilds, many timing chains and head gaskets, and so many valve adjustments that I can now do it blindfolded, in Celicas, Coronas, pickups and motorhomes. I’ve also done a fair amount of performance mods/builds, including porting and polishing heads, choosing an appropriate cam, adding 5M  throttle bodies and AFMs, and exhaust work. 

My “real job” also has me performing inspections on motorhomes, doing pre-purchase inspections, and mechanical damage (failed parts) inspections for warranties, so I know a considerable amount about refers, AC, 12v and 120v, inverters, converters, generators, plumbing...

I don’t claim to know it all, but am definitely well versed.

I am a moderator on a couple of Toyota web pages, and admin on a handful of FB pages. Due to this, and most of my friends being “car guys”, I’m constantly answering questions on FB pages, web sites, and through text messages, FB messenger and phone calls.

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Edited by a2ndopinion

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