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AnarchyintheAK

Another Alaska Toyhome

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So I just bought a 1985 900 Series Toyota Dolphin, 4 cylinder manual transmission 20R, etc, etc, etc. She's been very well maintained and kept up and if I was just casually camping in her I probably wouldn't need to put a dime into it.

However, I am not going to be casually camping in it. This will be my full-time residence as of May first, which means I have one month to get this thing COMFORTABLE and shoehorn my entire life into it. (With my dog, Porkchop.)

Just a few aesthetic things like paint, flooring and curtains but none of these are major and I think I've found enough how-to's that I'm not concerned about them. (I'm so lucky she seems completely dry and free of water damage!)

Of slightly more pressing concern are a couple of things.

One: She's missing the ladder. Where's the best place to get this replaced? And after I do, can I actually walk on this thing? I would like to put a kayak and a solar panel on top and as soon as the weather cooperates I want to go ahead and re-seal everything...just in case.

Two: This thing blatantly says on the back that it is not intended for towing and indeed has no visible bumper at all. However, I have seen some pretty impressive looking bumper-storage set-ups. Is that something I can do with this model? I'll be taking this from Anchorage to Cabo San Lucas and I'd like to have spare tires and extra gasoline stowed on the back. These things might at some point be replaced with a good heavy duty tote for extra gear, or a bike rack, etc. Eventually my dream would be to strap a street legal dirt bike to the back...how does this work?

Three: Has anyone dedicated their cabover area to storage as opposed to a sleeping area? I'd like to see pictures! Still weighing the options on where I plan to sleep, where to build in a little extra storage, and where I'm supposed to add a dog crate. If I ever want to winter over somewhere cold in this thing, I'll want to add a woodstove as well so I can't destroy that option...

Thanks so much!

Rachel

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Rachel,

I have the same year and model Dolphin that you have. My interior looks a little different than your's because I painted everything in mine and changed out the "wrought iron" cabinet supports for some better looking ones that I made.

Ladders are available at most RV supply places or on line. They run about $100 and are made to fit most small RV's. Easy to install, too.

As far as walking on the roof, I'd be very careful where you step up there. I get up on my roof, but I try to stay on the roof beams that run across the roof. They are kinda' visible and are visibly stiffer than the unsupported aluminum panels between the beams. I weigh about 195 and haven't fallen through, yet...

I re-seal my roof every two years with that white paint or roll on goo available from Home Depot. I put two coats on 24 hours apart. Make sure you have good weather for a couple of days. Rain will wash the uncured stuff right off the roof!

The "hitch" on my Dolphin (and probably yours) is sort of a joke. I wouldn't hang anything back there heavier than a couple of aluminum lawn chairs. However, quite a few people have had their hitch reinforced and haul small trailers and even a small car. A good hitch shop can do the work but it can run about $300 for a good job. Maybe $400. The hitch needs to have extra steel run from the rear forward to the original main frame of the truck. If you don't do the work yourself, make sure the shop knows what you want to haul back there and how much it will weigh.

I've seen some nice cabinet work done where the cabover bunk is on some of the Toyhomes. Its up to you on how custom you want to make it. I use the rear bunk to sleep in and just make it up every morning. I've got it down to a science and can get everything set up for the road in about one minute. Literally... My cabover bunk holds all the stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else like bedding, a guitar, some outdoor stuff, the awning crank, etc. I do try to keep only relatively light things up there - no canned goods or the like. Going over the dips in the road puts an instantaneous but heavy load on the cabover, hence the light weight. I also rebuilt the cabover several years ago and made it stronger using real plywood and epoxy instead of the flimsy original junk it was built with. So far no problems. You might have to watch your weight up there if you're going to be full timing, but it can be done if you're careful.

You mentioned painting...I looked at yours and it reminded me of what a dark cave I started out with. I went whole hog with the paint and everything is off white or beige now. It makes the place seem much bigger, I'll include some photos here if I can figure out how to do it.

Good luck!

John

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Im curious to hear how your trip to Cabo goes! Double check to make sure the yota is mechanically sound.

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