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Old 09-13-2014, 10:54 PM   #1
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1972 Dodge Sportsman Class-C

Hello everyone,

Last week I bought a 1972 Dodge Sportsman Class-C RV and I'm getting around to working on it. I'll be living in it full-time and I move out of my apartment in a month. I have a running list of things I need to work on, but I was wondering if you guys could help me with the identification.

How do I know what model the camper is? I know the chassis is a Dodge B300 Sportsman, but I don't know anything about the camper. Is there anywhere I can find an identification number on the vehicle? Are there any resources for a manual with house-wiring and plumbing?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:16 AM   #2
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Many manufacturers , large and small, built on those chassis, most are no longer in business.
There would have been a weight sticker, in the back of a cupboard somewhere in the coach that should have the company name ; if it hasn't fallen off over the years. It will look like the picture below.
If you could post a picture of your rig, maybe we can be of more help.
Info on posting photos is in " FAQ " drop box in the blue bar below your welcome message.
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:18 AM   #3
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They put all kinds of camper bodies on the sportsman. The one I had was a fiberglass body. It was an American clipper. They were the only fiberglass body in the 70s. IF you are fiber glass then its a good bet thats what you have if not then you can cross that off the list.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:13 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses guys. Here are some pictures:





She runs and drives great. Starts up easy every time. I'm getting everything for a tune up on the motor.

It has "Santa Fe" stickers all around it and on the registration it says "Santa" so I'm guessing it's a Santa Fe? Or at least made by Santa Fe.

I'm not sure. Anyway, I'll just keep a running "build thread" here and post my issues as I go. For right now, it looks like the waste water valve is leaking. I've ordered a new 3" one along with a new cap and I'll have that "crappy" job ahead of me.

While I'm waiting on that I wanted to tackle the fridge. I was told it would work, but only on propane, not on 120V. It's a Dometic RM45a, but I can't find a manual anywhere online. I have found a few threads that people have posted links, but the links are dead now. Anybody have a copy of this in their archives somewhere? I'm going to email Dometic on Monday as they don't have it in their archives either.

Thanks for any help guys.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:38 AM   #5
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The manufacturer , may have disappeared pre web, so their may be no trace, on-line.
From the photos , it looks like you have one of the odd ball chassis set ups that took a different spare rim front and rear. Something to be aware of if you ever have a flat. You need to have the front axle weight from the door plate to get the correct front end parts , if you need them.
My first , brand new vehicle was a 1973 Dodge 3/4 ton Maxi van, with 360 2bbl. Then in 1975 , I started working at the local Chrysler dealership in my home town. There were, at that time 2 local manufacturers ; Vanguard & Frontier, Canadian companies; building on the Dodge chassis, I was in charge of receiving & delivering, the chassis for both companies off the transports, so aside from an assembly line worker, I've probably seen more of these chassis than anyone.
Any chassis related questions just ask.
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:11 PM   #6
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Skip,

Thanks for your help. I just ordered a a list of parts, but all for the house portion. While I'm waiting on those, I'd like to turn my attention to the chassis. First off, it looks like it has a dodge 360. I'm definitely mechanically inclined (I've rebuilt an aircooled volkswagen motor and do pretty much all the work on my silverado), but I've never had a carbed motor. My first question is what is the typical oil pressure I should expect when driving this thing? I'm going to do an oil change, but when I got it up to operating temperature the oil pressure was hanging around 15 psi, which seems low to me.

Second, how hard is it do get down to the brakes? The rig seems to stop just fine, although it takes more effort on the pedal. i'm just assuming that's because of 4 wheel drums and I've been used to a 10 year old braking system as opposed to a 40 year old one. Either way, I'd like to get the brakes inspected sometime soon, but I'd like to know if it's something I can handle.

Again Skip, thanks a bunch for your help!
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:45 PM   #7
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I'm seeing dual wheel axle. That tells me it's a 1-ton framework to handle load. That would make it in today's standard a Dodge 3500HD model.

Being the year, and a dually, it would have a 383, 400 or 440 engine. Model 727 3-speed Torqueflite Transmission. Very popular engine/trans combo and very robust. Check if Distributor is at front of engine. These engines in the truck models of these early Mopar years will not be same as cars. These are more heavy duty engines, made for strength and torque. Also if the heads/valves have NOT been rebuilt for today's ethanol/gasohol, you WILL NEED to get a good supply of "lead treatment" for the valves/valve guides to help protect against unleaded fuels. I would also definitely change out the fuel lines, and rebuild carb as lots of vehicles of this era was susceptible to many breakdowns from plastics/rubbers that couldn't stand up to unleaded fuels and other chemicals in the fuels. I know you didn't ask about this.

Camper striping makes me think it is possibly from Winnebago as they were very popular back then for conversion bodies.
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:42 PM   #8
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Thanks for the response Jayco. Underneath the front hood it says it's a B300 with a 360 motor. I'm not sure if the motor has been changed, but I doubt it. The distributor is in the back of the engine, with back being towards the rear of the vehicle. I definitely have a carb rebuild on the list. I'll add fuel lines.

I really appreciate the extra advice. Even if I don't ask specifically, this is my first RV so I don't even know half the stuff to ask about! I'm focused on getting the waste water valve switched out this week, as that is leaking.

Can someone give me a rough idea of how the house is plumbed? I assume that the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and bathroom shower are all plumbed to a grey water tank and the toilet is plumbed to a black water tank, as that is what I'm finding online. I've seen some of the modern diagrams, but if someone could point me to an older diagram I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:40 PM   #9
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15#oil pressure is too low at idle. It should be up around 35-45#s warm. It could be old oil. Do an oil change and see what it does with pressure. I've had many of these older Mopar oil sending units go bad and sometimes just a simple replacement of them will correct pressure problem. You'll find the sending unit on back, top side of engine beside the Distributor. Remove the air cleaner housing and it's a large domed piece with a wire on top.

Something else with these older motors. Do not start using synthetic oils in them, unless they've been rebuilt with modern oil seals/gaskets. You'll start getting serious oil leaks.
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:27 PM   #10
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Thanks Jayco. I thought it should be up around 40#. I'll do the tune up and fill it up and see if that helps. Is 5W30 acceptable oil for this engine?

We got in there today and did a rough cleaning. It's in really good shape! Here's a few photos so far:










I have two questions now after the days work. What is the button on the floor next to the gas pedal do and would it be okay to steam clean the cushions? It doesn't really smell bad in there, it just smells old. I think a nice steam clean of the cushions and the carpet would help a lot.

Thanks again for all your help guys!
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:52 PM   #11
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The button just left of brake pedal is headlight dimmer switch.

As for the oil, I'm not an oil guru. This is a good question to ask the "Oil Guy" who has a website which oil would be best for an engine of this age and what would he recommend for oil, with it being a camper that it sits for periods of time when not used.
I would say that if you find "dino" 15-40 it shouldn't hurt to put in. Ask around, someone could have a better answer.

Again if someone mentions synthetic oil, remind them that this is an older engine with original seals/gaskets that weren't designed for synthetics.

She cleaned up real nice. I've heard of people steam cleaning drapes/couch fabrics, but I don't know what type machine they used, or if they also took the outer shell off the foam. I've also heard of people using a spray dry foam fabric cleaner and vacuum rotary brush with good results.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:46 AM   #12
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A definite no, on 5/30 oil, , 10/30 minimum, 15/40 probably wouldn't hurt in a warm climate.
Trying to start below freezing... well that would be another matter.
Dodge engines with a light only , light would come on for low pressure at 7 psi. I'll check for spec's on that.
15 psi hot idle shouldn't be an issue , if it picks up to 35+ at higher RPM.
Have a look at the timing chain cover, behind the water pump, to see if it looks like the timing chain has ever been replaced.
Factory original cam gear had a nylon coating, that had a tendency to crack off and jump teeth. Double row roller chain was the fix, for that.
Holley 2bbl , carb fairly simple o'haul , make sure you get a new float with the kit. they have a tendency to saturate and cause flooding.
Pay careful attention to the throttle and trans kick down linkage when removing the carb; very easy to mess up the adjustments and loose power , and upset the trans shift pattern.
360 was the base engine in the one ton chassis, and after 78 the largest, when the production of the big blocks stopped.
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sktyrhrtout View Post
Second, how hard is it do get down to the brakes? The rig seems to stop just fine, although it takes more effort on the pedal. i'm just assuming that's because of 4 wheel drums and I've been used to a 10 year old braking system as opposed to a 40 year old one. Either way, I'd like to get the brakes inspected sometime soon, but I'd like to know if it's something I can handle.
Sorry, I missed the question on the brakes, on my first read of this post.
Front will have disc brakes and , hard pedal may be an indication of sticking caliper slide or piston. Front brakes are not complicated.
Rears , require special tools , because the hubs must be removed to access the linings, and with all the weight on the rear of your coach, special jack and stands, are required.
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Old 09-16-2014, 05:35 PM   #14
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Thanks Skip. I should be able to handle the fronts then and then I'll see how it handles after that. I thought it would have 4 drums, so that would be great if it has front discs.

I'm waiting on a dipstick (didn't have one) which should be here tomorrow. Then I'll change the oil and see if that helps with the low oil pressure.

For now, back to the house. I have a quick question regarding gray/black water. How can I tell if this unit has a gray water tank? The plumbing at the dump portion looks pretty standard, i.e. black tank through waste valve and then the gray water comes down from the top, but I can't see if it has a gray water tank and what capacity it would be. I'm going to be mostly using this away from RV parks so I want to get a rough idea on what my capacity would be.

Thanks again for all the help guys.
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