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Hey guys, my name is Tim and I've been lurking on here for a while and figured it was time to join since I will be looking at a '85 Sunrader tomorrow. It's a 21" 2wd with 139k+ miles, EFI, a manual 4 spd and a 6 lug floating rear end. I was a Lexus and toyota master tech for 13 yrs so the mechanical issues I might run into don't bother me, but this is potentially my first RV and I don't know much about how things are supposed to operate on them. I can handle some external cosmetic issues but don't want to buy someone else's problem child. Since this is an older RV, I'm sure it's in need of some modern renovations and plan to do some reprinting/re-upholstering of the interior.

I grew up camping with my parents in their RV's but I always slept in a tent and tried to remain outside most of the time. Now I'm married with a baby and want to start taking my family camping since some of my best childhood memories were camping, but my wife insists we must have something with a bathroom (ugh....ok honey). This is why my search for a cheap reliable RV has started. I am immediately drawn to toyotas because of my mechanical background and my parts connections within the toyota community. After reading around on the forum, I realized I don't want something that has had issues with water leaks so the sunrader platform seams to be the best option for me.

I talked to the owner's son who is handling the sale and he said the cab needs to be repainted (because of surface rust in scratches that he spray painted), one of the front windows needs to be replaced because the corner is broken off and he just revealed one of the roof vents was leaking in the last rain and he re-sealed it. He says everything works, but doesn't know how to run anything other than the truck engine.

How do I run the propane fridge?

How do I make sure the tanks hold water and don't leak?

If the broken window is one of the wrap around ones, how much should I plan on paying a plastic place to make me a new one?

The only thing making me want to look at this RV is the EFI and a manual trans. Is $4000 too much to pay for this RV with the issues I already know about?

Is there any other issues I should be looking for?

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No I mean its not a steal but you could buy it shine it up a bit and sell it for much more in the summer.

It seems a safe investment.

I would check out the age of the tires not the tread. I had to replace all of mine within 5000 miles. Cost wise thats about as much as any major repair and its the biggest problem of toyhomes but probably rvs in general.

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tires would be around 650 to 750 depending on witch brand you buy...

4000 is a good deal....

bring a friend when you look at rv.. and ask a lot of questions...

even though the owner says everything works sounds like he really does not know....

that is a little scary to me. Its not hard to get fridge on (it must be level!!!)

you could ask owner to plug in rv to shore power...

to start fridge all he would have to do is turn the fridge control knob to electric and the hot cold switch to max cold and let it run for couple hours to get cold(must be level!!)

on shore power turn on thermostat heater should start blowing HOT air..(if air is blowing cold could be a easy cleaning to get heater up and running...

ask owner to put water in holding tank and try out all sinks and toilet

when water is running the water pump will kick on. with faucets turned off(water off) you should not hear water pump anymore.. if pumps kicks on and off cycles then you have a water line leak...

make sure all walls are solid knock on them and look for any pealing wall paper (water damage if pealing)

look at floor for soft spots Sunraders floors sometime will have damage....

hope this helps and good luck on RV

Steve

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DAGOBAH, that was the first thing I looked for in his picture. It has the 6 lug full floating rear end. The front is still 5 lug and will have to be addressed if I only want to carry one spare, but I have connections in the junkyard world.

Thanks for the heads up about the heater and fridge. I'll see if he can top off the freshwater tank before we get there so we can test the pump and see if the tank leaks.

Does the heater on these things run off propane or the coach battery?

I plan on doing a duel deep cycle battery setup (parallel) with LED lights on whatever RV I buy - possibly even a solar charger for those long stays in the desert with no hook ups.

Speaking of desert trips, I've been reading about frame reinforcement/lengthening for hauling a motorcycle on the back. I'm pretty handy with metal fab and a welder, but my buddy is a certified welder and amazes me what he can do with a tig machine so I'm sure between the 2 of us we can get it done. Is a 365 lb quad a realistic amount of weight to carry once the frame has been beefed up and lengthened?

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With lots of welding you might well support your 365lb+ but remember that it'll be cantilevered 15 ft behind the rear axle, so you'll end up with less weight on your steering wheels. I don't know how this will affect your handling. You might not be doing a wheelie, but you'll have less grip in the wet/sand/gravel/snow.

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Ixnay on the quad, its way to wide and to heavy. Use a trailer, you can put other stuff on the trailer too. Like extra water for long stays, chairs, BBQ, generator and such like.

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Is this the one in Perris,Ca? It's the bunk style one. Front needs a complete repaint but the rest looks OK. No I think 385 lbs is too much. Be better off with a traier for something so heavy. Might already have a hitch in back, lots of Sunraders came that way. If it's the one I'm thinking of and you get it post pics of the inside. Not many bunk models out there. Be nice to see one

Linda S

Furnace runs off of propane and battery. Battery for the fan and propane for the heat

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Yeah, this is the one in Perris, CA. It's close to me, so it's worth a look. It looks like the bunkhouse model from the way the double windows are on the side, but the owner's son said it isn't......I'm going to have to check it out for myself. I hope it's the bunkhouse. We could use the sleeping space more than anything. I know the cab needs a repaint. The son got crazy with the spray can trying to cover up some surface rust. I'm hoping to be able to use that to hammer him down on the price.

If I get it, I'm planning on a $300 Maco paint job on the cab if I strip it. I have a friend who details RV's for a living that owe's me a favor, so I'll call him up to get the coach part all cleaned up.

We are planning on a big trip to Yosemite in the summer of 2015, so I should have plenty of time to do repairs and do some local weekend trips to work out the bugs if I get it. I already have a friend of mine that used to own a toyota truck junkyard looking for a 6 lug one ton swap for the front end for me. He's a wealth of knowledge when it comes to old toyota parts and every time I talk with him it's an education.

I like the idea of a small trailer to haul my quad with, I was just thinking it would be nice to stay out of the slow lane while towing. I guess I'd better get use to the slow lane if I buy one of these though..... I'd really like to do a 4.0 Lexus 1uzfe swap in one though. I love those motors and have already done a 3rz swap on my '85 4x4 so I know what a motor swap entails, I just don't think I have enough time with my work schedule now.

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Linda, I will post pics of it even if I don't get it. I'm going to see it tomorrow and will bring the camera.

So how rare is an '85 sunrader with EFI, 6 lug floater rear end, 4 SPD manual trans and a bunkhouse floorplan? From what I've seen, the manual trans motor homes are rare, but I haven't seen a bunkhouse model ever. I've done lots of searches online and have only found out that '85 was the last year of the bunkhouse model.

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now that I think about it the heater is only propane...the frig will run off of propane 12volt or electric if everything is working correctly...

Steve

DAGOBAH, that was the first thing I looked for in his picture. It has the 6 lug full floating rear end. The front is still 5 lug and will have to be addressed if I only want to carry one spare, but I have connections in the junkyard world.

Thanks for the heads up about the heater and fridge. I'll see if he can top off the freshwater tank before we get there so we can test the pump and see if the tank leaks.

Does the heater on these things run off propane or the coach battery?

I plan on doing a duel deep cycle battery setup (parallel) with LED lights on whatever RV I buy - possibly even a solar charger for those long stays in the desert with no hook ups.

Speaking of desert trips, I've been reading about frame reinforcement/lengthening for hauling a motorcycle on the back. I'm pretty handy with metal fab and a welder, but my buddy is a certified welder and amazes me what he can do with a tig machine so I'm sure between the 2 of us we can get it done. Is a 365 lb quad a realistic amount of weight to carry once the frame has been beefed up and lengthened?

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now that I think about it the heater is only propane...the frig will run off of propane 12volt or electric if everything is working correctly...

Steve

No the heater needs your battery power or plug in to run the fan. Without the fan running at the proper speed the flame won't light.

The bunk model is pretty darn rare. I think I have only seen 4 or 5 ever and one of them was owned by a member here who just sold his. His had the bunk section removed and they might have done this to yours too. I don't think it would be that hard to replace it.

Lots of 85's have the upgraded rear axle but manual on the EFI engine is pretty rare too. Much better mileage with the manual.

One more thing. The vin is posted on the ad so I checked the California vehicle test history. It has never failed a smog test. Way good for a vehicle that old

Linda S

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I am not sure switching out the front end makes any sense.

I have an 85 same set up with the six lug rear and 1/2 ton front.

Its harder to use a single spare but it doesnt need a 1 ton front. Just extra weight.

Really its the best possible set up.

Look at it this way the rear end was replaced with brand new parts like 30k miles ago. Thats better that it having been six bolt new.

Really I can make a case why 85 is the best year but id sound biased...

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For the 4 speed efi thats very rare. Like ive said I dont know how rare but there are more made by owners than were made

What there are a lot of are people who claim their 22r is a 22re in the for sale ad.

Almost all 4 speeds are 22r. There are just a ton of those.

For the dolphin in 85 they only offer one or the other

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I think reconsidering if it is a manual efi that is a potential big ticket ebay sale definitely in the 10k range in summer

Thats the one people want maybe a bit older than ideal.

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With the 5/6 lug combos the easy way is to buy an adapter from Custom and Commercial Wheels. Carry a single 6 bolt spare and use the adapter if you have a flat front tire. BTW the adapter is sorta big $$.
The other choice is to just carry a 5 bolt spare for the front and just limp in on 3 rear to the nearest tire repair place. That is assuming you didn't actually blow out a rear and shred a tire. Then you may have to wait a couple of days while the shop orders one of the correct sized tire.

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Ive got the second method. In fact at the moment I have a flat in the rear and a tire on order. I move it around slow however a double flat would be disasterous I must admit.

I did explode a rear and had to order a tire like wme explained.

Its happened twice to me the first time in portland another discount tire carried the tire and I drove there.

But here in gilroy they dont carry it at all and had to order it from southern california so it took 3 days

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So my dad and I went and looked at it today and it was trashed. Every light cover was missing, access doors were missing keys, corner cabover wraparound window broken with fiberglass damage, bathroom door won't stay shut, upper bunk of the bunk beds is missing, closet door won't open, table was missing some exterior lights missing and several other things I'm sure. The 22re ( that's right it is fuel injected) seems to run and idle ok, but as soon as I turned on the A/C and brought up the idle to around 2000 RPM to see if the A/C cooled down, a check engine light came on. It also had a nasty exhaust leak that was either a cracked manifold or a cracked weld on the collector part of the exhaust downtube. I also couldn't find a 6 lug spare stored anywhere - the 5 lug spare was in the factory spot though. The fridge had some mold - not the worst I've seen, but the freezer door opened every time when I opened the fridge door.

The worst part is, that little roof he he told me about over the phone resulted in dry rot in that section of the roof. I started peeking around for more dry rot and pulled back the couch cushions to find some wood exposed on the left wall. I pushed my finger through the wood all the way to fiberglass!

Also, I was unable to test anything because the battery was dead, the propane was empty and we couldn't get the electrical cord out of the hole in the back

All in all, this thing is going to need a entire gut and rebuild and is a much bigger project than I am looking for. I wouldn't pay more than a grand for it, even if I did want this size of a project.

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I love it. It is definitely worth restoring.

I would buy it somewhere around three.

It is an extremely rare model possibly worth lottery money

Ask sunrader bob on the mailing list how many there are

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I love it. It is definitely worth restoring.

I would buy it somewhere around three.

It is an extremely rare model possibly worth lottery money

Ask sunrader bob on the mailing list how many there are

It might be a worth a lot of money restored, but I don't have enough time for a project this big....maybe if I was retired, but I'm working around 60hrs a week with a 4 month old at home that my wife needs help with..

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I think its worth a lot of money as is. A toyhome that runs ok with no major repairs needed to drive home is not a 1000 Gamble.

I dont have the money but id buy it.

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I think its worth a lot of money as is. A toyhome that runs ok with no major repairs needed to drive home is not a 1000 Gamble.

I dont have the money but id buy it.

No major repairs to drive home? I'd be afraid the first pothole or speed bump you hit would cause the coach to collapse! Honestly, I'd be afraid to drive it to the main road from the seller's house - it's a pretty rough dirt road that's a couple miles long.

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Oh im not sure I see where the coach is breaking but its possible....

I dont see the value of these things in the 30 year old rv interiors. If it hasnt sold though there could be something I missed. Plenty or people buy and restore toyhomes

For me havint done two the big thing is tye drive home. Tirrs etc. The main value is the vehicle

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