Adventures And Restoration Of Our 1973 Travco 220 Motorhome

Saturday, July 30, 2011

If It's Not Already New Or Broken It Will Be Soon!

So I was standing in the backyard staring at the fate of the fuel tank when I thought, Hey lets hook up the water hose and see if the plumbing works.  I hooked the hose up to the outside of the RV and had one of my kids run to the house and turn the water on. I should have expected it but that noise that we heard was not a running faucet, it was rushing water behind the stove. Yes, I was screaming "SHUT THE WATER OFF!" It's amazing how sound proof these old Travcos are.

I knew we were going to have issues like this, I have even previously told my wife "If it is not already new or broken it will be soon" that's what happens on anything this old that is made to go down the road. It's also a good insurance policy to state this up-front as a pre-curser to when we are all stranded on some back road in the middle of nowhere some point in the future. 
On a good note my camera and lenses were not damaged as they were in the camera bag on the floor in front of the stove, the bag was wet but everything was safe on the inside.

All in all after taking the stove out it was just a short foot and a half copper line that feeds the toilet. My thought is to replace all needed copper with Pex tubing, it's easier to work with and I think it will hold up better.

It's 11:33am
Next Stop, Lunch.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rusty Fuel Tank and Other Issues

We've all heard the phrase, "It's got to get worse before it gets better" well that pretty much sums up where we are this week. I knew from day one that the gas tank was going to need replacement due to the rust inside and in the words of the previous owner, "It's like the Titanic inside there" he summed it up pretty well. After a bunch of looking around on the web and a few phone calls it appears that the quickest, (read: cheapest, I hope) method to resolution is fix the tank myself. So until a better option comes to mind here's the plan.

The Fuel Tank Plan:
1. fill with water  - DONE
2. Cut open with Sawzall  - DONE
3. Sandblast
4. Re-weld
5. Seal the inside and paint the outside
6. Find a new fuel gauge sensor (this could prove tough)
7. Find new straps and install

After four Sawzall blades and a couple zaps from a wet Sawzall the tank came apart pretty well. It had a ton of loose rust in the bottom, an inch or two in some places but overall it looks fixable and the metal is very thick which should make it pretty easy to weld.

Now I need a welder! It's this exact predicament that every tool loving guy dreams of; Dig into a project for the good of the "Family" and wouldn't you know it, the only thing holding you back is a particular tool or in this case "welder." Next thing you know, not only can the whole family can tell you what a welder does, their behind you in your selfless quest for another tool to fill a void in the workshop. Wish me luck, we'll see how it works out.

Next Stop, Lunch

Monday, July 18, 2011

90 degrees, electrical and a bunch of cleaning

The first week home with the Travco, yes I called it Travco, apparently if you own a Travco you affectionally name it with the likes of Myrtle or Blue Whale, I'm cool with that, I'm just bringing myself up to speed with Travco ownership. So I guess while I think about the name, I'll refer to it as Travco.

The first week home with the Travco was mostly spent sitting in the drivers seat pushing buttons and pulling switches to see what worked and what did not. My goal is to firstly concentrate on the major driving functions then evolve to the camping functions. This past weekend we finally started digging into the electrical, pulling out and disconnecting forty years of add-ons that no longer work, CB radio, misc switches that lead to nowhere and the factory option "Waste Destruction System" which sounds pretty interesting but in lieu of a working exhaust system and a bunch of complicated wiring, we took it out.
The goal of the system was to grind up the waste from the black water tank and slowly feed it into the exhaust therefore incinerating it. Sounds good but currently my exhaust is suspiciously missing approximately a four foot section right where the system would have connected. I am also not sure we would make any friends on the highway with the possible smell coming from the exhaust as stated by my oldest son. It's a good point.

The current state of the electrical stands, I have headlights but no running lights, instrumentation lights or horn along with a few disconnected or burned wires which at the moment I have no idea where they lead to. I am going to try to trace the wires with a wiring wiring schematic that I found on mytravco.com. Electrical aside, we were able to clean the fridge, which at this point we still don't know if it works and the stove/oven which looks as new.

I could use a cold Coke right now. Next Stop, Lunch.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Interior Pics

Notice the gas can. The gas tank was laying on the ground and disconnected.

Our New/Old Dodge Travco Motorhome

My kids have been asking for an adventure; you know, travel to amusement parks, stay in hotels, see the Grand Canon install a swimming pool, the usual stuff. After a few years of thought the thing that kept bubbling up was a vintage motorhome, now that's adventure, or at least it's my version of adventure. I'm the kind of guy that enjoys the journey more than the destination and I think after much research I have found the perfect adventure vehicle. So if this is your kind of adventure or you enjoy reading about other peoples mishaps then read along as we attempt to restore an old motorhome and head out to find adventure.

Let's get going, next stop is lunch.