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  1. Hi all, Just bought my first camper ever, an '87 Toyota Dolphin. Long story short, it needs work - work that I myself don't know how to do. I read great blogs and posts here about the amazing things people have done to their Toyota campers, but the writers are either trained, related/married to someone who can work on them, or just amazingly talented in RV repair from birth. For regular people like me, there's only one option: hire someone else to do it. Or is there another way? I'd love some information on how regular people like me can fix up their campers themselves. I can do basic DIY around my home, but I know better than to assume that transfers to RVs. What kind of basic equipment, like power tools, do I need? Where could I park it to work on it (I live in a townhome community where we're not even supposed to change the oil in the parking lot)? I'd like to partner with someone and learn the skills needed to fix it up - has anyone here ever done that? TIA for any information!
  2. I recently leveled my 1985 Toyota Dolphin and am turning it into a flatbed truck. I am interested in swapping the 4 speed low geared tranny to one with a 5th gear for better fuel economy. I am hoping that it will be an easy project, but I've never worked with transmissions before. So far I've removed the entire motorhome down to the original framing, cut the frame just over 3 feet shorter (so it's now just over 16'), and fixed my tow hitch at the cut with some lag bolts. The vehicle is significantly lighter at this point and I'm thinking that I will get an increased fuel economy with a 5 speed transmission. I'd imagine the lower geared tranny is unnecessary at this point. I do not plan on doing much heavy hauling either. It was a 1985 Dolphin with a 1 ton dually axle. 22re engine with a 4 speed manual. Will this transmission swap be a worthwhile project? Can the job be done with minimal tranny experience (and having the mechanics book for this rig)? Will a 5 speed of the same year even fit properly or will I need some other parts to make it fit? Any advice I will greatly appreciate.
  3. I am sad to be moving on from my camper adventuring days, but optimistic that this gem can get in the hands of someone else that can enjoy it to its fullest!The "Ponty" is a 1977 Pontiex Pont-X SR-2. The model is somewhat similar to the slightly more common Toyota Chinook. It is very rare and unique and I have only found four other ones in my extensive internet research. The camper company would buy truck cabs from Toyota, build out the campers and then resell them. Its total length is 16.5 feet. Which means you can have what feels like a pretty spacious living area and still fit into a normal parking space!The camper is 40 years strong. It has been on trips all over the Western US and driven across country. In the transitional period as I look for a more practical car, it is has been my daily commuter. Here's a bit about the truck part:To start off it's on a Toyota Truck cab. They were pretty common and you still see a lot of them on the road. They are mechanically straightforward and easy to work on and get parts for still. The truck features the well-regarded 20r engine. I recently rebuilt the heads and the engine is in top shape. The odometer reads 28,000, but only reads 5 digits, so my best guess would be that it has 128k miles on it (possible 228k). It was a 4 speed manual that I upgraded to a 5 speed. Top speed is about 65mph on the highway, more like 45mph going up a hill (depending on how weighted down you are). Not the best vehicle if you're trying to get anywhere in a hurry. I've have been averaging about 17mpg. Pretty good for a home on wheels! Up front it has a cassette player that I never felt the need to upgrade because it has an AUX input, a house speaker hooked up to the radio, seats and dash in pretty good condition for its age (some cracks on the dash and in driver's seat). I recently replaced the carpet in the cab so that is looking pretty spiffy. There are two batteries, a car battery and a house battery with an isolator that keeps the house battery use from draining the car battery. Both batteries are less than 2 years old. The Camper:On the port side there is a table that seats four tightly and drops down for a bed. Underneath one of the benches is a storage space and a water tank under the other. On the starboard side there is a closet with many drawers and storage. The kitchen features a three burner propane Coleman stove with an oven (pretty rare to have an oven in a camper), an icebox fridge (could be upgraded to a mini-fridge but I generally did 6 day adventures at a time so I just got a block of ice), a sink with a pump that brings water from the tank below one of the benches and drains into a grey water tank underneath. There is a fuse box where you can flip a switch to plug straight into electricity if you're at home or at a campground or you can run off the house battery. I put an inverter in so that you can run a laptop and other electronics through it. I also put in a Fantastic Fan Vent that works really well for controlling temps. It has a sensor that closes when it senses rain. Above the cab is another sleeping space or space for storage. You can slide it back and remove a cushion to create more open space. There's also an open flame propane heater. One of the defining features of this camper is its HUGE windows. The full fiberglass shell means that it is safe from much of the leaking damage that many older campers see. Upgrades that have occurred in the last 5 years of ownership• 7 new tires (duallys and a spare)• Rebuilt engine heads• Upgrade from 4 speed to a 5 speed w50 transmission• Clutch• Alternator• Rear differential• Brakes• Rebuilt rear axle and u-joints• Interstate batteries for house and car• Custom carpet in the cab• 350 watt inverter to run electronics• Fantastic Fan Vent for ventilation• Many other small upgradesUpgrades currently undone:• Gas gauge is broken (I never fixed it is because the needle pops up from the other side when there is a few gallons left, plus I have a 5 gallon reserve tank so that always worked for me)• When starting, the engine typically turns over a bit longer than normal, especially when it's cold. It always starts so I haven't looked into it yet but I suspect it could be a carburetor cleaning or rebuild.• The blower in the cab works but doesn't blow heat. Haven't looked into what it needs to work properly.• Some rust showing on the rocker panels and on the hood of the truck (It lived in Nevada and Colorado for all of it's known life. I only brought it to Vermont last year and did not drive it through the winter.)• Lots of little things that could be done if desired to add a personal touch (New curtains? Cushions? Radio/sound? Paint? Solar? Etc.)I'm really looking for the right buyer for this amazing vehicle. I have been burned on internet car sales before and I want to make sure that the buyer has every piece of information they need and walks away happy. Feel free to contact me with any questions, more pictures, etc. $8900. I am looking to upgrade to a Toyota Tacoma and would be willing to consider trades. I'm in no rush to sell so no need to send low-ball offers. It hasn't been updated in a while, but if you want to read about some of this camper's adventures you can check out my blog: https://pontxadventures.wordpress.com/Thanks for looking!Mischa
  4. Hey all, I have a 1985 Dolphin with 60,xxx miles that I've owned for a couple years and I put half of that mileage on. This rig has been the most reliable vehicle that I've owned and have driven it coast to coast 6 times. I am an experienced tradesman and I recently endeavored on some minor repairs. Well you can guess what happens next...I have totally gutted this vehicle to find that practically every popsicle stick they put it together with is going to need to be replaced, and I was hoping to elicit some inspiration from stories of recovery from the brink of death, or when it was finally time to put an end to a motorhome's suffering. By the way, it wouldn't ever go to the junkyard, it would be turned into a badass flatbed truck. If anyone has done the latter, have you had any issues registering the MH as a flat bed?
  5. Last month my family was given a 1990 Toyota Dolphin has only 20,000 miles on it from our family in the midwest. My wife's father bought the RV new off the lot in 1989 for a family tour around the country and after the epic family vacation it saw very little use and has been sitting parked in the driveway for the last 20+ years. This spring in preparation to hand it off to us it went into the shop and has some work done to make sure it was in safe operating condition. Mechanically the truck is in great shape and drives well with the only minor issue being that it can be difficult to get into 4th gear(manual transmission). Due to limited use it also has many of the original interior features in near-new condition which is amazing, but there are some issues that need attention. After an inaugural trip last weekend we developed a list of projects including: Dealing with rot in the rear wall on the passenger side (for many years it sat within the spray range of the yard sprinkler near the driveway) A grey water tank that will not drain- I think the release valve is stuck/jammed Plumbing issue where draining water into the right side of the double kitchen sink floods the shower with stinky water Fridge does not get cold, either on gas or plugged in We also have come up with some "nice to have" projects on our wish list: Install solar panels Remove bathroom like Wapiti did - our RV look almost identical Add LEDs and buff the paint like DirtyPatches did - our RV is nearly identical Change to a 12V modern fridge and run it off the solar I have spent lots of time reading through this forum and see many instances of issues similar to mine and will probably post in the appropriate places as we dig into each one. Just wanted to say thanks to all the people who have posted all the helpful information and that I look forward to hanging out here more.
  6. I'd like to ask you Dolphin and New Horizon owners about your family trees, I just noticed a Dolhin for sale in wisconsin, and the picture of the interior back area has a roof section with a clock which seems identical to the one in a Nova Star I saw recently. Were Dolphins and Nova Stars (or New Horizons) somehow connected? The Dolphin had a rear dinette, but also had a bathroom with a separate shower pan, very nice-
  7. My furnace was making a horrible screeching noise for the first 5 minutes of use ..each time I used it. The fix? Simple.. I used 3 in 1 oil oN the fan motor. getting to the fan motor.. not so simple. I finally got the courage to dig into The furnace..pulling it from it’s spot under the fridge (I have a model 200 dolphin 1991).. To remove the furnace, first go outside and unscrew and remove rhe exhaust vent. Make sure that you carefully remove any caulking around the vent, and don’t forget to accidentally drop the screwdriver..so that it can roll directly under your rv and settle in the exact center. then go inside of the rv, and remove the cover off of the heater. Then remove the two screws from the frame (where it attaches to the wood) and then get a paper towel to wipe up the blood and to wrap the cut on your right hand. Its at this s time, that you want to have a glass of wine (beer can be substituted if necessary ) ..then using a 3/4” wrench, start to remove the propane coupling.. make sure that you stop, run outside to double check that the propane is turned off..then drink more wine.. then either unhook your coach battery or remove the 15 amp fuse that controls the heater . MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT PLUGGED INTO SHORE POWER. THEN remove the propane coupling.. it’s at this point that you should take a break. the next morning.. after coffee.. and dealing with the cat.. remove any drawers next to the unit, so you can have access to the back and sides.. you will need to loosen the unit by pushing it from the side, rocking it as best you can while cussing loudly .. cussing does help. Once loose, just slide the unit forward ....then you need to mark and cut the wires.. I suggest taking pictures so you can make sure to reattach them correctly.... Then you can slide it forward and out. The vent pipe is just pushed in and will pull free. after that.. it’s just removing a few screws.. cleaning out all the mud, dirt and bugs, and oiling the unit... test the fan motor by hooking it to a 12v.. . ( or just replace the motor ..it’s just around $100).. then put it back together, in reverse order...making sure to cuss and stop to drink more wine. After that.. it’s just posting it on social media.. oh, and more wine.
  8. We are reburbishing our 1986 toyota dolphin mini camper and working currently on the front end. We need to replace the steering damper and are having a hard time finding the proper replacement. The one we believe we need for the specific model we have has a greasable ball joint knuckle. All the others available and much more reddily available have a pin at the same point of contention. What our question is is does anyone know if the pin is actually preferable to the knuckle since the knuckle seems so seldom used and is the damper with the pin able to be used in place of the one with the knuckle? Look forward to conversation and input from others experience!
  9. Help! Looking for input on how to power my DC circuits with solar - was told by an old RV repair guy that my 200 watt solar panels (1200w inverter) and my (new) deep cycle battery are not adequate to run the DC circuits on my 1988 Dolphin. Said I’d need more batteries, or a generator. Pretty sure I’ve seen setups like this that work?? The Air Conditioner, fridge, and cabin outlets all work on shore power but I only have cabin lights when running on the (new, charged) battery. Any help is appreciated.
  10. Hey forum friends! Just got myself a 1980 Dolphin with the dually and tag axle, with 84,000 miles. I'm very excited, as it's my first Toyota Motorhome, and my second Toyota truck (I have a 94 pickup with the 22re, which I just rebuilt). I have some questions that maybe y'all could help me out with. First, this appears to be one with a recall axle (has the 5 lug extra deep rim with two wheels on it). I'm assuming I should replace it. Any advice on how to go about either replacing or getting it replaced? Do both the dually and the tag axle need to be replaced, or just the dually? Does National RV still honor the recall? If not I would do it myself, but I'd need to know what axles would work for a replacement. I've heard that axles from the v6 4runner work, is that true? Second, the roof is in need of repair, specifically in the back corner by the kitchen. At one point someone scabbed some boards up and replaced the ceiling panels with some white plastic/fiberglass sheet material. It's alright, but the sheets have started to bubble a bit with time. I'd rather see some nicer paneling. I was thinking I might redo the whole roof by peeling back the tin and reframing it, as I've done it before on a 77 dodge honey motorhome. It was a big project, and a learning experience, lol, but in the end I was so happy to have done it the right way! So my question is, has anyone taken this on in a dolphin? Any advice? Looks like I'd have to peel the tin back from the middle of the cabover window to the back of the back window. Looks like the OEM materials used are not much, 1x2" for framing and 1/8"-1/4" ply for sheathing, not much eh? Are you even supposed to store anything on top ever? They have the rails but I'm skeptical... Last question, anyone know where to source other parts? Specifically I'm looking for the outside vent door for the fridge. I'll put up some pics later when I get a chance. It's already a great rig, all the systems work and run great, a little wear on the upholstery, 20r runs great, but I'd like to do a nice restore and have everything excellent. Any help is appreciated! Thank you Steven
  11. We are looking for a Dolphin, but want to find out if there are any production years which are better/ worse than others? We are new to these, and are hoping to find the perfect rig, for 2 adults, and a of couple dogs. Your input is greatly appreciated!!
  12. Hey all, just bought an ‘84 Dolphin 700 with all of the original fixtures. 90k miles. The original power converter is installed and it looks like the PO had wired in some solar panels and may have added a solar controller, although it looks like it’s from the same era as the converter. So two batteries, one right next to the converter, seems added, and the battery box that you can access from the outside. Both were dead and when I hooked up a new battery in the outside box the converter “Click” “Pings” and the lights go dim and then brighten in ten second intervals. I’ve done some reading and I think it’s the auto reset breaker, which I have located, but it’s soldered in and riveted in place. Doesn’t seem like a replacement item so maybe this PO really fried things? Just looking for some experience since I have never RV’d before. Thanks.
  13. My wife and I are close to purchasing our first Toyota motorhome. The vehicle in question (1989 Dolphin) looks great overall and the current owner clearly has invested time, materials, and energy in making upgrades. The ad on craigslist shows part of a reconstruction process to address past water damage. It looks like mainly to the overcab area and the exterior portion of the rear wall. The owner also freely states that he replaced the right side and rear framing with treated oak instead of fir as well as moisture resistant wood in the overcab area. On one hand, I appreciate seeing the prior damage but it makes me wonder what else can't be seen. Is it common for most non-sunraders to have some leakage, even if it never makes it into the cab or coach? This vehicle is in the central valley of CA, not a particularly rainy place. I've attached a picture of the rear exterior wall during reconstruction. Is this normal? Should I be happy the current owner is so upfront and transparent or walk away and hold out for a sunrader? Thanks in advance for your insight. I can link to the whole post if that will help folks help me assess...
  14. I have searched hi and low but cannot find any wiring diagrams beyond the standard P/U diagrams (i.e. single battery, nothing past the cab except taillights). My '78 project is a very much a project and I could really use the wiring diagrams!!! You are probably wondering why I need the current wiring diagrams with my planned mods, and the reason is Ive no idea whats what in the engine compartment, just that there is 2x-3x more than a toy pickup!! Can anyone help? (project is a 1978 Dolphin - 2WD to 4WD, 4" lift, 33" tires, complete modernizing of the RV, change the floor plan to rear kitchen will be rebuilding the rv shell to lower the center of gravity by converting to not a "pop-up", but a power "slide-up". To give you an idea, the section above the cab will be a little over 2ft lowered and 5.5ft raised.... Wanted to do 1-3 tip or slide-outs as well, but it is only feasible to either pop-up or slide out, not both... and my center of gravity is the main objective..)
  15. (I've edited this to reflect some changes in my plans, based on the feedback of the community! I'll keep doing so as the plan evolves.) Hi Everyone! Following is a pretty...let's say "thorough" project description. I'm just starting out. This is my first project vehicle, my first RV, and my first project home of any kind in 20+ years of adulthood. Originally, I was going to purchase a cargo van and convert it, per, well, everyone else these days. Then I discovered Toyota motorhomes, and I fell in love. I had a friend who is a collector, and he was selling this Micro...I had to have her! What follows is a highly detailed description of my plans. I'll post project updates here, but I'm also going to have a Facebook Page and an Instagram (@adaringloss) for my friends and family to track the project. No, I won't be doing the typical "#vanlife" thing. I'm not interested in being social media famous. I'm shrinking my life, not trying to further complicate it. I'll try to organize this as clearly as possible, in a way that makes sense. I'm posting it for the ultra-curious, the ultra-nerdy, who may actually be interested in a pretty comprehensive description of my plans. Live vicariously through me, if you like, and relive your first project! Offer advice, ask questions, make stray observations. I'm learning as I go, so I welcome input! Overview I've lived in Colorado for 12 years, somehow without a weekender. Yes, yes, I know. Shame on me. I've just sort of used my Subaru for that purpose, but crawling into a back seat to sleep is getting old. However, having a weekender isn't my only motivation. I also want a home; yes, I want to live in this camper. At least for a little while. I travel for a living producing triathlons–about 20 per year–and I'd like to work a season from the road, rather than the air. My overall goal is to keep as much of the original structure and layout as makes sense while updating this lovely motorhome to meet both my tastes as well as modern aesthetics. (I'd like to continue to be inspired by the coach's original design, of course.) I'll be adding some modern conveniences, and generally making this "camper" a home. There are some small issues, as is to be expected with any 40-year-old vehicle or home. But she runs. Most stuff works. And she's mine. Name "Saoirse" (Pronounced "SER shuh"...it's Irish. It means "freedom".) Model 1978 Dolphin Micro Mini, 200, 20R Goals Keep as much of the original design intact as makes sense. Update the look and feel of the coach interior to feel more like a "home". Add some features and modern conveniences. Repair known issues so that both the camper and coach are in good working order. Desired Features & Modifications (This list is loooooonnng...) Important to Me Updated to power receptacles that include USB ports. All lights converted to LED. Addition of an inside/outside shower. (Designs and updates forthcoming.) Existing toilet replaced with a DIY composting toiled. (Again, designs and updates forthcoming...let's just assume that, shall we?) Standing platform on roof. After feedback from the community, it's become clear that this is simply a bad idea! Not going to do it. Rooftop cargo box. (After feedback, I will ensure that this is very small, and weighs no more than 50lb/22kg total weight.) Addition of an awning. Rear bike rack. Smoke, CO2, & Gas Leak detectors. Improved vent fans. Well, currently, all three are missing, so ANY vents will be an upgrade, technically. I just want thermostat-controlled fans. Hooks for bags gear, and tying off lines on both interior and exterior. Magnetic closures for everything. Compartmentalized storage solutions for shelves and cabinets. Table with a roadmap of US glossed on top. Table and benches convert to bed and sofa. Tinted windows. Removable insert for bunk, to make it a full-size bed when desired. Retractable clothesline. Message board. Pretty low-tech, but still... Rear backup camera. Not As Important, Still Desired Adding a solar power option for lengthy off-grid trips. Decent navigation/control center console added to cab. Bumper storage box. (Lighter, so as to not significantly add weight or affect weight distribution.) Multi-configuration audio system. Addition of a TV and media center. This is a big one for me. I'm very excited about my plan for this. Pull-out step and hand rail for people who need a little extra help getting into the coach. Dimmable/color changing LED interior lights. Loud horn to match her personality. Chalks, jack stands, & jack mounted to bottom of coach. (There is room.) Near blackout capability with velcro-mounted blackout curtains. Cell & WiFi signal boosters. Skylight above sleeping platform. Add aftermarket auto locks to doors. Add stuff to reduce engine noise when driving. Maybe Someday Swap the current 4-cylinder 20R with a 6-cylinder Toyota engine. 4WD conversion, including upgrades to suspension. A friend strongly recommended avoiding this conversion, and I agree, based on his feedback. Leveling functionality added to suspension. This is probably not worth the investment on such a small vehicle. Aftermarket cruise control. Exterior motion-activated security lights over doors. Design Aesthetic Exterior will eventually be a satin grey, with white detailing. (Better for boondocking; I don't want the camper to stand out.) I'd like to add exterior LED's where appropriate, so that when I want, the camper is highly visible. Switch them off, when I don't want it to be. Inside, I plan on going white, white, white. With lime green, deep red, and charcoal accents. The floor will be black hardwood (or more likely, laminate). I'll be preferring natural materials, as all considerations allow. Form follows function in something like this, IMHO, with weight being my chief concern. I'd like to throw in subtle flourishes. For example, a tiny hanging lamp over the table, and glow-in-the-dark stars painted on the ceiling. I'm currently reviewing many, many "hacks" to see what ingenuity I'd like to integrate into my home. Phases Now, I know what you're thinking: That's a LOT of stuff, Dan. You've bitten off more than you can chew. Seriously, dude. Don't worry, I was born, but I wasn't born yesterday. I know it's a lot, and as such, not only have I prioritized this stuff accordingly, but I've also divided it into project phases, to make it more manageable. I also know that my plan is loosely scheduled over 2 years–though I'm aware that these things often take twice as long to complete, as best laid plans are typically insufficient. I'm also aware that some of these things will be easy, some will be difficult, and some will be impossible. Or at least feel that way. Lots of research needed, and if I hit the mark of even 80% of this stuff, I'll feel like it's a raging success. 1. Study I'm currently in this phase. I'm learning everything I can about the RV. I'm documenting, measuring, writing, planning...hours and hours of just learning. 2. Phase 1A - Get It Running & Livable (Before Christmas of '17) The focus is on making sure that the truck itself is running really well. I'm flushing fluids, updating wear parts (pads, belts, etc.), and making sure that the roof doesn't leak. Because it does. Based on feedback, the roof is first, then mechanical, then I'll move on to other stuff. 3. Phase 1B - Get It Running & Livable (Before March of '18) Yes, I still consider this part of Phase 1, it's just the non-critical stuff to get it "running & livable". Make sure the heat, water, & toilet work, that sort of thing. 4. Phase 2 - Add Some Creature Comforts & Pretty Her Up (Before March of '19) Several of my functional mods will happen in this part. This is all about making Saoirse my own. 5. Phase 3 - Trick This Bad Girl OUT (Before March of '20) My fancy-schmancy, really non-essential stuff happens here. TV, sound system, etc. Major Modifications So, the word "Major" is probably somewhat hyperbolic here, but relative to everything I want to do, these are as "major" as I get. Bathroom - Add a shower, replace toilet with composting. This one's only slightly ambitious, but also rather simple. I'm planning on removing the existing toilet (It will be for sale...), the black water tank (ditto), and building a much smaller, DIY composting toilet against the back wall of the bathroom. Yes, I've heavily researched the ups and downs of composting vs. black water, and I'm sold on the former, though I'm always convincible by a well-thought-out argument and/or the voice of extensive experience. The space where the black water tank is currently will become the housing for my solar batteries, should I pursue that in the future. Once the toilet's replaced, I plan on adding a freshwater tank to the top of the camper, and running a gravity fed shower line into the bathroom running a line from the freshwater tank, and pumping water to a shower head in the bathroom. I will, of course, waterproof the entire bathroom. My plan at this time is to drain to the ground, and only use the shower where that is appropriate, and also only use biodegradable, environmentally safe cleaning products. I can easily be convinced that this is a bad idea, of course, and instead plumb my drain to the grey water tank. Table, Benches = Bed, Sofa This is actually not an original idea, and there are multiple plans and products to make this happen. From my photos, you can see the configuration in the rear, with to benches on either side of the coach, facing each other. The original floorpan design called for a shelf-mounted table between them. Instead, I plan on mounting a telescoping table base, on top of which I'll affix a solid plywood table, with a roadmap of the US on it (should I expatriate my camper, I'll swap table tops) for dreaming and making general route plans with wet-erase markers. With the flip of a switch, this table will then lower, forming a solid contiguous base with the benches. The pads on the benches will slide forward, creating a cushy bed. Add some throw pillows, and you have yourself a sofa for viewing... Media Center, My Magnum Opus I don't have a diagram (yet), as it's all in my head. So words will have to suffice until I tackle this project, which will likely not be for another year. So patience is a virtue, even though I'm incredibly excited about it! I can't wait to share it with you as I'm building it. Imagine a track, perpendicular to the camper, mounted and centered above the sleeping compartment, starboard side. Attached to that track is a hinged TV mount, on a swivel. The TV, once mounted, can be swung to the ceiling, slid forward and backward, and also rotate. The idea is that if you are in the sleeping compartment, you can lower the TV, and slide it against the starboard wall for watching movies. If you have a guest, and would prefer to watch from the sofa mentioned above, it can slide forward, and rotate to face the rear of the camper. My sound system, mentioned in the desired features above, can be configured for either viewing scenario. The TV can also be stowed securely against the ceiling, and I will be designing a padded, waterproof sleeve for the it, for cases of possible leakage. This entire system will be powered by shore power, obviously, though I could run it off of batteries in case of emergency. Like, if I absolutely must watch the rest of a Stranger Things episode. I love this concept, because it flies in the face of going completely off-grid, somewhat. I'm very outdoorsy, and spend the vast majority of my time outside playing in the snow and the mountains I love. However, I love, when the time calls for it, curling up and watching a movie. This gives me that option, and will be completely unexpected in a retro, compact motorhome. Known Issues Despite being in very good condition, there are some known issues that will need to be addressed. Important AND Urgent Some water damage on the interior of the coach. Because of vandalism after I bought it, one of the side windows and the rear window are broken out. Not currently lockable (seriously). No ignition key on the steering column. It's currently rigged to be hot wired each time you start it. All three roof vents are missing. At least one of the batteries is bad. Both may be. Both the fuel level and temperature gauges are broken. It's burning oil. I've been informed this is a coolant leak! The driver's side mirror is missing. NOT Urgent Seat upholstery in the cab is torn. Light rust and small dents on body. Small cracks in windshield. There are synchro issues when shifting. Idles just a tad high. There's a leaky fuel filter. Windshield wiper motor is very weak. The headlights are super dim. Engine noise isn't mitigated well. Conclusion Yes, this is a beast of a project. Each of those bullet points above will potentially require hours of research, hours of planning, and hours of implementation. I have no delusions of being able to do this in a weekend or 5 weekends or 50 weekends. I know that this is a multi-year project, but it will be a labor of love that I enjoy immensely, even when I hate it. The camper is currently parked at my parents' house in rural, eastern Ohio. I have access to tools and materials here. I travel for a living, so I'm able to be here often, between gigs, focussing on the renovation. I'm going to knock out Phase 1A from above before Christmas...as well as Phase 1B if the gods look kindly on me. I've attached a series of "before" pictures, that I've taken over the last couple of days. Enjoy, if you like. I said it above, and I'll say it again: Advice, observations, and questions are welcome!
  16. 1989 V6 Dolphin 65,000 miles: Got a quote last year for $500 from a local mechanic, which I thought sounded cheap. Then I was in a different mecanic shop in town the other day and asked them about doing a valve adjustment on my Dolphin. Off the top of there head they said 1.5 to 2 hrs of work and expect around $200-$300! Called them today and they called me back and said they would have to replace a gasket, and they could get the shims in town, $315! And it would be done before lunch. Is there anything I should be aware of??? The timing belt was replaced at 59,000 before I bought the vehicle.. Thanks, Eric
  17. May 86/87 Toyota Dolphin 21' 22RE EFI Hi All, Now that I'm in one (dusty out in the middle of nowhere) place for a while, I can attend to the nagging issues that have attended this journey. The check engine light, quiet up until Tucson, is now flashing in bezerk spasmodic patterns. It is time to hack the computer and get a good reading - NOT while I'm try to drive in high wind conditions. Linda, you mentioned this article http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/CheapTricks/TroubleCodes/ I did find that, and I have the two little diagnostic yellow plastic cylinders on the sidewall, but it does not say where you stick the ends of the hair pin. Just randomly one into one side and one into the other? I am hesitant to stick metal into live electric areas with which I am unfamiliar. So here are my little yellow doohickeys. They have specific plug patterns each. Where should I poke 'em?
  18. I'm dreaming of a slow creep across the country. Really slow. I don't want to reach the snow belt till spring. I only want to spend 4 hours a day driving on any given day, and not every day. I want to stay in FHU type places with intervals of dry camping, not too remote. And mostly, I want to be able to drive 45 - 60 mph without some Corolla goosing my bumper, and travel the flattest route even if it is not the most direct. Avoid cities. Eschew dirt roads. Somewhere in the middle there are some polite transits for wide-bodied vehicles. In this case, a modest little 87 Dolphin. But where are they? I have driven across these United States a dozen times, all solo, sometimes well-planned, sometimes "go west young woman." I know how to plan a trip. But avoiding steep mountain passes has never been a goal before. What do you know, fellow RV denizens, about the low roads in Winter? Starting in Oxnard CA and ending in Brattleboro VT. One small dog as passenger. Short term Workamper or RV camp jobs (yes I'm registered on those sites) along the way welcome. Any suggestions for routes and destinations are welcome. And if this has already been covered in the archives, that's welcome too. Thanks!
  19. Hi! I'm the new owner of a 1978 Dolphin Micro Mini, which I'll be remodeling over the next few months. I'm so excited to start this journey! I have the Haynes manual (for the Hilux pickup), but I don't have a manual for the RV itself. I've looked through the files over at the Yahoo! forums, and I spent the better part of a few afternoons searching the web, only to find that all roads point back to here. Would any of you have access to this manual? Or perhaps a model similar enough that it would help me as I'm respectfully updating this amazing classic? Thanks so much!
  20. My partner and I are hoping to hit the road for several years this coming spring following the end of her graduate degree. We've been looking for a Dolphin. We don't necessarily plan to do an overly large amount of driving, and we don't really mind going at a leisurely place. We stumbled upon a 1986 4 Cylinder Automatic with 80,000 miles with nice condition interior. I have yet to test-drive it or inspect it myself (but have photos of it; the owner seems trustworthy enough); I am hoping to do so this week. Seller says they are third owner and that they are sad to part with it; it has Washington plates. Questions: --What things should I look for when inspecting it? --What things should I look/listen/test for when driving it? --It's being listed for $6,000 dollars. Is this a fair price? (This is pushing our budget, unfortunately). Is there a lower amount that would be considered a fair offer? --Is there a ballpark amount of money can I expect to put in with regard to maintenance initially? --We're outdoorsy people, and we're used to tent camping when we road trip; if we're spending longer periods of time in BLM sites with long term permits (i.e. it's parked for 1-2 weeks at a time), I am thinking that in that case we would take it out for weekend jaunts. Would this be harmful to the vehicle/not advisable? Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer! I am a newbie to Toyota RVs in general; really nice forum you've all got here. Cheers from Arizona.
  21. This Dolphin was purchased less than a year ago, in August 2015. Renovation began immediately, with complete removal and replacement of the floors, upholstery, refrigerator, toilet, kitchen countertop, swivel chair, lights (to LED), cushions, handles & hinges, curtains/blinds, and new paint throughout. It's gone from 80's style to modern in 3 months of renovations. We had it completely re-plumbed and we resealed the roof. We worked day and night to make it our own (total DIY)! Enjoy looking through the before and after pictures of our project. Let us know if you have any questions, we'd be happy to answer them!! Thanks for looking! B&B
  22. HI, new to the RVing world. Have the opportunity to get a 4 cyl Dolphin with 46k miles for $7k. I don't have a lot of details (not listed, for sale by the side of the road). It does not have an alternator or cabin AC. Does it seem like a good deal, provided everything works? I realize it may need new tires/rubber replaced. It does have 6 lug rear axle. Appreciate all the advice in advance. DL
  23. I currently have a 78' Toyota chassis that used to have a camper shell on her, but the previous owner tore it off. Looking to buy a new camper shell for her now that the restoration process is almost complete. Please contact me if you can help me out. Thanks a lot
  24. I recently purchased an 86 dolphin. We are renovating it currently. Our model has the two club chairs and small table in lieu of a dinette. Has anyone done this before? Any reason not too? To me a dinette seems more practice than the club chairs. Here is a picture of what I'm dealing with lol. I have both the chairs and the base box out now. Everything is currently stripped to the plywood. Any input is appreciated. Thanks!
  25. I'm thinking about moving from Wisconsin to Maryland, and taking my 1984 Toyota dolphin with me. Is anyone familiar with the inspections process in Maryland for RVs? Do RVs even get inspected there? If so, what does it take, and possibly more imporantly, how much might it cost, to bring a 1984 vehcile up to modern standards for emissions and such?
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