Adventures And Restoration Of Our 1973 Travco 220 Motorhome

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hot Slow Summer Progress

It's been a HOT summer but we have some progress to share. 

UPDATE: Project Exhaust Manifold
Exhaust manifold bolts have been extracted from the heads the mating surface of the exhaust manifolds surfaced, one new push rod installed and the engine is back together and running.

UPDATE: RUST The Entry Step
All bad metal cut out, new metal welded back in and a new set of steps installed



Support for the new steps

 Next up is plywood and some flooring

Friday, June 22, 2012

Project - Broken Exhaust Mainfold Bolts

As you can see by my previous post, it only made since to check out that exhaust leak while we have the passenger floor out. Really, I'm not trying to create work for myself even though my wife states that " If you take any more parts off that thing you won't be able to say you own a RV," it's just the fact that the deeper I go into the project the more things I find that need fixed.
See my post "If It's Not Already New Or Broken It Will Be Soon!"

So here's a recap of my current situation: (NOTE: Days equal possible long stretches of time)
Day 1: Bring the Travco home, looks great! Replace fuel tank and go camping

Day 2:  Replacing the tank was a pipe dream- see post below

Day 3: While I figure out what I'm going to do with the fuel tank, lets work on the electrical and refinish some cabinets.

Day 4: If we are going to refresh the cabinets, why not reupholster the seats and cushions? - Yes, I removed the interior.

Day 5: It's going to cost a bit to recover the interior so why not keep myself busy sanding the repaint off down to the original gel-coat and polishing

Day 6: Cabinets? Fabrics? Exterior? Well we can't go with that 30-year old floor now, can we?

Day 7: Let's remove some of that moldy carpet... Wow! and that rotten wood... and that rusted metal under it all...Hey, thats the ground were looking at!

Day 8: Which brings me to this post. "Project - Broken Exhaust Manifold Bolts"

Yes, three broken bolts, make that four so far, I broke another one and the drivers side manifold is not completely off yet. Have you ever taken a head off a Travco? It's an adventure for sure.

Process: (ALSO NOTE: there could be other steps involved such as taking an antifreeze shower etc. that are not listed here.)
Step 1: Remove air cleaner, intake manifold, water pump housing, which means remove front grill, radiator, condenser, trans cooler, air conditioning compressor and alternator

Step 2: Remove/break off exhaust manifolds, valve covers, valve train, bent push rod- Yes Bent?? and then heads. More on the push rod later.

Step 3: Inspect heads and remove broken bolts

Step 4: reassemble

See, it's no problem I tell my wife.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interior Part One

I am preparing a post dedicated to the rebuild and direction we want to go with the interior but we will save that for later as during our tear-out last weekend we found yet another area that needs attention. The passenger front floor showed signs of previous water stain on the carpet so we knew we had a possible issue and issue we have. The carpet was hiding a pretty significant problem as the plywood and metal under it were in bad shape. The metal itself was completely separated from the front and side walls due to rust.

On a good note, I think... we found during this destruction that the heater core water lines have been disconnected. I guess we will cover that also in another post.

Carpet removed

Plywood removed. It was nasty

This is what it looked like most of the way around.
Completely separated

Now might be a good time to take a look at the exhaust manifold

Monday, May 21, 2012

RUST. The Entry Step

If you own an old Travco, you know that the restoration job is never done. Yet I think that is the reason we choose these old RV's. It's about choosing the road less traveled, enjoying the world at a little slower pace and enjoying the simple things of life......

Yeah I'm trying to make myself feel better about my newfound RUST issue. From the looks of my entry step with the carpet removed, it looks like my new welder is going to get some more use. My goal for this project is to replace the rusted steel, replace the wood with new treated plywood and install new entry steps.

The fact that you can see the ground might be a problem

Ready for cutting the rusted metal out

Fuel Tank Part Two

We are starting to make a ton of progress. The fuel tank is not yet fully complete but I thought I would keep you up-to date on my progress. This project will be the first for my new/used Mig Welder.

Pretty basic tools for the job. 

Fuel tank back from the sand Blaster

Problem: The rust was through the tank in two locations

The smaller of the two holes

Old cut-out section above and new patch to the left

Fitting the patch

First weld with the new welder. Looks like I need a little practice

Number Two

Fitting number two

The new welder. Also notice the panel clamps holding the tank together.
Bought them from Harbor Freight

All tacked together

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The tools

A fun shot of the tools and sandpaper process lined up from 80 grit to 600 grit. I tried skipping a step or two but the results are not as nice and I had to go back and do those areas over.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Progress - To Paint or not to paint?

It was my goal to sand off the multiple layers of additional paint applied over the years and repaint the travco. While sanding, it was to my surprise that the gel-coat while not perfect was not downright terrible either. In my goal to get us camping this season I have decided to sand off all the cracked and peeling paint down to the gel coat and buff to a shine.

The Process: Orbital sand the whole body with 80 grit then 120 grit, 180 grit, 220 grit, and 320 grit. Then hand wet sand with 400 grit and 600 grit and follow up with machine rubbing and polishing compound. Finally a coat of wax. 

The final result will be less than perfect but It will be very presentable for the season at a fraction of the cost and time of a new paint job

Cracked and peeling paint

Sanding off the old

In Process - Sanding off added paint 

Looking better - Original Gel-coat

Monday, February 20, 2012

Where Did I Go Wrong?

Last we talked I was on the hunt for a welder to weld my fuel tank back together and hunt I did but somehow things got off on a different track.

Alright, I'm just going to put it out there.
I bought a sewing machine for my wife with my welder funds..... Yeah, let's just move on.

It's been a while since my last post but the quest has continued.

1. Gas tank is still out and after hunting for a replacement all winter I have reverted back to my original plan of welding the tank back together. Let me know if you have a better idea.

2. The interior is extremely clean and in good condition but the thought of living with 30 year old foam rubber and fabric that has never been cleaned does not give me thoughts of relaxation. That said we pulled one of the covers off a rear bunk bed and carefully washed it in a kiddy pool, unfortunately it resulted in a semi-crispy fabric that I doubt will ever fit back on the foam. we knew this was the risk but until you try? With this new knowledge, we are now thinking we will use the other bunk cover to create a pattern and sew new covers. That sewing machine might come in handy after-all.

3. The cabinet and interior wood structurally is in good shape but the finish is pretty rough, it's cracking and peeling quite bad. I have sanded a couple doors down and tried a couple different stains but matching the original finish which looks like some form of one-step stain/varnish has proven difficult. Currently I am planning on either painting the cabinets, finding a contrasting stain or investigating the possibility of putting a laminate on the doors and painting the frames.

I really like the dark wood of this Airstream pic.

Upper Cabinets

Lower Cabinets

Sanded Clean

New Stain - Take One

4. We are having a few electrical issues but I'll save that for another post. 

Well the weather is getting warmer and the season just getting started.

Next Stop Lunch!