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Toyota Advanced Member
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About FredNewell

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  • My Toyota Motorhome
    1984 Dolphin (sold)
  • Location
    Fortuna CA

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  1. I totally agree on the parts availability... and would totally understand taking an 80's vintage Toy or even a 80's or 70's trailer and doing a total re-build. But then it is different strokes for different folks. If I had purchased the big winner lottery ticket last week, I'd have flown first class to the Lazy Daze factory and placed my order. But I'd still love the Toyota MHs. I'm seeing a growing group of Rialta lovers and VW lovers. There's a company called Pop Top or something like that near Bakersfield. They sell refurbished with a good warranty. The transmission risk can be greatly mitigated with frequent fluid changes and install of a scan-gauge and cooler. The original factory cooler was inadequate to say the least. But still in the back of one's mind there is the willingness to take a risk. FWIW there are quite a few out there that get a lot of use, and have 200k plus miles on them with happy original owners. I've had mine for a year, driven it hard for 10k miles, and like it so far. But then I've had 9 RVs so far. They all had their faults. It makes no logical sense to have an RV for most people, but we do it anyway. Like timeshares, motorcycles, boats, guitars, marriages, horses, and such, you have to pick your hobbies and commitments, and make the best of it. Ok I'll go back into my cave. Thank you for listening. I become un-retired next week and am returning to the work force for a while... then maybe save up for whatever. Stay healthy and safe. Live life winning!
  2. Ok, been 10,000 miles in the vw chassis MH. 12 mpg average. 91 octane costs more. I still love the Toyota MH, but the Vista is good too. Same comfort once parked. Not much different. I do love the generator. I like the rear bath. If money was real tight, the Toyota is better, just because of fuel cost. All else seems the same, except for maybe the initial buy in. Dolphin 8-14k Vista maybe 23k to 30k in equal condition. I saw many Rialta rigs on the road this time. Not many Toyotas. But then fewer motorhomes all around, but the RV parks seem to have escalated prices this year. Paid $12.50 in Chappell Nebraska, and $65 in Ok City, $62 in a couple of other places. It seem to me a KOA or equivalent shoud be worth maybe $40. but what do I know. Either way, it is still a small MH. Trading up to a MBZ/Sprinter chassis is nicer, but then lots more money too. I believe I have a buyer for the Wanderlodge. A real nice coach, but we're not using it any more. Love the toyota experience.
  3. The following pertains to our 1984 Dolphin before we sold it. Dolphin shower worked well, but made sure shower handle was one with an on/off button to start/stop flow. My wife always used the shower, I usually used the RV park shower. These days with Covid concerns, I would use the onboard shower. Shower curtain management was vital to keep water from escaping the pan area onto the floor. We kept a "bathmat" towel on the floor to absorb any water that escaped, just in case. We also used a squeegee to dry the walls and keep things spotless. I built a lip of plastic at the corner where water was most likely to escape. Junk plastic trimmed to fit, and stuck on with the gunk used to seal seams. It could be removed if it ever got funky, so that no holes were drilled in the pan or wall. When and if dry camping, there is a shower trick we used, even back in the day with a family motorhome camping in national forest campgrounds. Each kid got a 2 liter diet coke bottle full of warm water to rinse down with. The lid had 3 holes drilled into it. That's the ration for a daily shower. OK, you could use 2 if needed, but it seemed to work. Eventually we pulled into a real rV part where we could waste more water. But for dry camping it helped us stay for a couple or three nights. We don't like to go a day without a warm shower. That's just how we roll.
  4. I tend to overthink things... I calculated that you could take a 30 minute shower which would empty the freshwater tank, into the black water tank, and not overfill. Still, not wanting to overflow into the shower pan, I never let the blackwater tank fill past 3/4 and kept an awareness of it, even when parked for a week at an RV park. I suppose if connected to city water, and I overflowed the black water tank, it would be time to "hang it up" and get out of the RV hobby. As far as a high level alarm... just flush and look into the toilet, if you see high water, then dump the tank.
  5. Wheel is now "sold" to Doren, and will be shipped soon. Thanks to all for the interest.
  6. Our 84 Dolphin was plumbed so that shower drained into black water tank, from the factory. I liked it in that I could drain the black water tank at an RV park, then a couple of shower's worth of water make a good "clean out" rinse, followed by draining grey water through the sewer hose. Made for a cleaner sewer hose when traveling from RV park to RV park.
  7. I'm late to the discussion, but I have one 6-lug wheel from the spare on my previously owned Dolphin. Available for local hand-off or can ship at your expense. Good condition. Never been on the road. Just attached to spare mounted on rear of MH. Can also hand off when on a trip at a later date. No charge for the wheel. Off expires if and when I deep-clean my shop and no longer want to keep it.
  8. Ok, completed a trip from California coast to Madison WI area, and back. Took 80 thru Reno, SLCity, Omaha, Des Moines. I promised an update... 13 mpg. Set the cruise at 65 or 72. Pulled mountains ok. Slowed to 50 mph in a couple of places. I have a Scangage and after market trans cooler. Trans temp 150 to 200 which is fine. It's not the same as a Toyota, but very similar. Big positive is a "basement" with a compartment from side to side that holds things over 6' long. You could carry a body there. 2000 pound trailer hitch comes with it. The driver sits a little higher than in the toyota. The factory Winnebago driver seat is marginal. The Dolphin seat was satisfactory, the Winnebago seat needs an upgrade. Side and rear visibility is fine. I love the generator. Big 19" tv comes built in. Roof air, dash air. Flat floor (front wheel drive). And good storage for 20.5 feet long. The gas tank is 21 gallons, but i still fill it every 200 miles. The gas tank fill in next to the driver door. This is better for me. The V6 VW requires (not suggests) 91 octane. 50-60 cents per gallon more for the higher octane fuel. Seems like a good vehicle. They seem to go for $20k-27k. For the price you ought to be able to get a dolphin or two in excellent or very good condition. Good Dolphins seem to command $10k give or take, but I have not shopped them much. Just saying. Itasca/Winnie units maybe $15k??? IMO, either the Vista on VW chassis, or a good Toyota rig should hold value.
  9. I have a spare tire mount that goes into the hitch receiver. It's been sitting in my shop for years. Free if anyone wants it. You pay shipping. Located near Eureka California. It came off of my 84 Dolphin. /will add photo later. Update... not what I remembered. Took a photo. Not sure how it worked now. Maybe it is just scrap metal.
  10. Iamblakeh, What floor plan do you have? I'm interested in following your adventure. Are you trying to rebuild the coach to as good or better than new, or just fix it to make it work. Are you working this on the cheap, or are you thinking of sinking $ into the project? Either approach is valid, just has different goals and outcomes. Fred
  11. It is typical for some floor plans of Dolphin. Open the toilet (step on the flush lever - the one that opens but does not run rinse water) and look down the stinky hole with a flashlight while running the bathroom sink or shower. If it is plumbed there, then you will see the water motion. Rear dinette model 1984 with bathroom behind the driver's seat... shower and vanity sink drained to blackwater tank. For dumping the tanks, it had two separate drain valves so you had to connect the drain hose (stinky slinky) twice to do the entire dump. Kitchen sink drained to grey water. The resale of the MH later may go better without the composting toilet mod. Maybe save parts so you can change it back. FWIW a brand new never used toilet can be attractive to the next buyer. Reinstalling the old one may only save $100. Plastic toilets are inexpensive.
  12. Here's what I did on long trips. Our 84 Dolphin had a 2-way 120V and Propane fridge. Not 12V. On 2500 mile trips, we plugged in at night, and just went with no power to the fridge. Things stayed cold or frozen just fine, like a good quality ice chest. Outside temps were usually in the high 70's or low 80's. The freezer section was kept full of frozen prepared meals, frozen cooked chicken, frozen chili/soup, or frozen pizza. We took care to not leave the door open longer than necessary. The key is to plug in at night. We traveled from RV park to RV park. This was the old original fridge. Not pretty but clean and workable. I also did the following, but didn't really have to use it... I got one of those 12v cigarette lighter inverters that has a 120v plug in. I plugged it to the 12V socket, and ran an extension cord from the back of the fridge area to the inverter. The fridge is normally plugged into a 120v outlet. You have to unplug and swap it over to the extension cord. (Nowadays I use the invertor to power up a portable Norcold unit in the back of my 2017 Sienna minivan.) I used the same inverter to charge phones and ipads while driving using the USB ports, Your RV fridge has no "startup current" because it has no compressor like a household unit. The electric power simply keeps a refrigerant coil "hot" the same way a propane flame does. It draws very little power. If you have the parts laying around, and many RV folks have this stuff, give it a try. If it works, then you are cool! Pun intended. Never had a leveling issue once. That's in several travel trailers and motorhomes over 35 years. I know some have, but it is somewhat uncommon unless you are parked on a slope without being somewhat leveled. Like what Derek said. All that being said, after seeing a travel trailer explode at Pismo Coast Village RV Park, I don't really like having my propane on. I valve it open to cook, and valve it off (at the tank) when done. I installed an electric element into my propane HWH. Easy aftermarket deal. Also, a couple of years ago I had a brand new Camco propane regulator fail open, while I was dry camplng near Ruth Lake in the midst or a dry summer during fire season. One spark could have made national headlines. I really don't like propane. If I was to re-design a Dolphin today, I'd eliminate the propane system, and go with all electric.
  13. I was hesitant to post the link for the Toyota book on this site, not being certain of the current site policy. But you've identified the book. Thanks!
  14. Well... here's something... From this website, I downloaded a pdf file that told me everything I needed to know about Toyota repair, to "keep it running forever". It was free but valuable. I printed it out and sent it to the new owners in a nice binder with an index. The only worthwhile VW Eurovan repair manual is published by Bentley/VW. The used ones are offered for my year are very expensive. You could buy a roof air conditioner or a couple of new tires for the price of a Eurovan repair manual.
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