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Old 02-17-2010, 09:40 AM   #1
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1973 Minnie Winnie (Winnebago)

Hi guys. =) My husband and I bought a 1973 Minnie Winnie not too long ago, and we're repairing and renovating it. I have all my blog and photo/video links in my introduction post if you're interested.

We've done a lot of repairs on her and she's almost ready for inspection. We feared the worst because once we got her running, she didn't budge, but we found out she was just low on transmission fluid - and gas, apparently what we put in wasn't enough. After we added the fluid and more gas the gears got turning and she drove! I'm very happy. This winnebago hasn't been driven in many years, from what I was told.

The previous owner painted over the flying W with green house paint (yeegads!) so we're going to eventually, after all major repairs and inspection/licensing/tagging are complete, repaint her on the outside and work our way in.

We'll be adding two 60volt solar panels and a larger battery bank. We'll also be adding a cistern system for water collection, and convert the generator to run off propane as well as gasoline. We'll see how that goes!

As for info on Apoc (as we call her):
1973 Dodge (B-300 Van Series) Minnie Winnie
Original Onan Generator (runs of gas in gas tank, or so we're told) with auxiliary battery
Propane tank bank consisting of two large propane tanks
Propane/electric fridge
Propane stove









I get a great sense of pride out of this motorhome, because I know that when we got it, it didn't run. It was wasting away. Now that we have it, we've put so much work into it and now.. she runs!

She may not be the best, but she's ours, and we will rebuild her.. make her stronger. Better. Faster. (Okay, maybe not faster. LOL)
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:01 AM   #2
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Congrats on the fine looking Winnie, and welcome to the forums. I just finished remodeling my 82 Winnie, The older models have so much character. I'm interested in seeing more pics of her as you remodel.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDubs View Post
Congrats on the fine looking Winnie, and welcome to the forums. I just finished remodeling my 82 Winnie, The older models have so much character. I'm interested in seeing more pics of her as you remodel.
Thanks! I read all through your post already and I love how you redid the inside. The chalk board paint on the cabinets was an excellent touch. It really saves time when you need to write something down!

I have a full flickr photoblog going on and I put pictures up on my regular blog periodically. I have some video up of her first start and her first run on YouTube.
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:38 PM   #4
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Either, your rig has an air compressor based water tank system (rare), or more possible that's your propane tank (Give the flair fitted soft copper tubing coming from it).

Do you have a picture of the outside wall right next to that tank?

A map of the floor layout and where the tank is located would help as well.
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:53 PM   #5
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It took me a sec to figure out what you were talking about. That's not my propane tank, I have two in another designated location. That is the water tank, I believe it's pressure based.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:02 PM   #6
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If that's the case, you'll need to completely overhaul the plumbing system with a self supporting polyethelene tank and a 12 volt RV water pump. Depending on where you get the pump, they go for around $60-200. I can't tell for certain if the dual belt ready pump on the top of the engine is for a no longer functioning A/C system, or if it was an air compressor).

The tank, unless you can find a unit to salvage from, $200+.

You'll also need to check what your hot and cold water lines are made of, 70s, would be galvanized steel base and flexible copper tubing for the faucets. PVC for a primary line (1/2") cold and CPVC for the hot work best for the main line and then you can use 1/2" brass dual male thread connections to go from the PVC lines using mesh jacketed flexible household faucet lines (Be certain to get 1/2" FIP to 1/2" FIP, not 3/8" compression to 1/2" FIP).

On the subject of the engine, is it running the 5.9L 360 cubic inch V8 or the Big block 440? It looks almost exactly like the engine in my 92, but given its location in the shroud, its hard to tell for certain.
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:31 PM   #7
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The only thing that leads me to believe it's pressure based is a little gauge, it reminds me of a pressure-reader gauge. I don't know for a fact that it is. If it requires an overhaul, that's just what we will do. My husband has some experience in building and assembling cisterns, but if we have any questions you can bet I'll be back on this board soliciting other people's expertise, so thanks for the advice! I'm sure it'll require a lot of sitting down at the drawing board, because collecting water from the air is sometimes a little bit too fruitful and it'll have to drain out somewhere as well.

Oh, and yes it is a 360 V8 engine, good eyes you have on you!
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:42 PM   #8
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Here's a book the two of you should order, it'll help fill in alot of the blanks, and also has some great info on tuning the old RV engines.

It was published in 1983 by Trailer Life, called "RX for Performance & Mileage" by John Geraghty and Bill Estes.

ISBN 0-934798-06-0

Here's a link to the used listings for it on Amazon.com:
RX for Performance & Mileage" by John Geraghty and Bill Estes
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:17 PM   #9
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Thanks for the link to the book! I can get it pretty cheap on Amazon. I wonder if there is an online version available?
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:27 PM   #10
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Unlikely, that book was published back in 1983. There's been subsequent newer releases, but they pertain to newer technology vs the older carburetor engines. There's alot of useful information in it pertaining to the horrid Carter Carburetors used in the 70s (two barrel, undersized nasty things). Also, you'll need it because if my memory serves me correctly, that 73 is probably pre-smog, so there's likely no catalytic converter, Exhaust gas recirculation or blower pump to deal with (Alot of the old early 70s trucks are usually grandfathered in as they didn't have emissions controls when they were built).

Okay, I've been rewatching the video of it driving, I suggest you guys do a drive test with the engine cowling off and someone watching with a flash light to determine the burning fluid leak.

Look up a combination filter/gasket kit for the tranny pan. They're usually cheap and its wise to replace it anyway since the pan could be leaking (Transmission fluid doesn't just vanish, its usually leaking out if its gone away).

On the subject of the brakes. Have you guys checked to see if there's any fluid in the master cylinder? I'm suspecting that one of the seals on the brake pistons has rotted, the master cylinder has failed or one of the flexible rubber brake lines has failed, does the pedal go the floor with little to no resistance?
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Old 02-19-2010, 10:23 PM   #11
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We haven't checked the fluid yet, we've been knocking things out one by one slowly and getting it all situated (mostly because of money constraints) but we're gonna throw our tax refund at it and see if we can't get it all up and running with that.
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Old 02-20-2010, 12:44 PM   #12
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Hey guys, does anyone know where I can find, online for free, the wiring diagram for 1973 Dodge B300 (360 engine) ignition switch?
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Old 02-20-2010, 02:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Hey guys, does anyone know where I can find, online for free, the wiring diagram for 1973 Dodge B300 (360 engine) ignition switch?
Hard to believe but I think I found a source for you. It's from an automotive forum and the guy posted his email address, so I don't want to post it here again for spam reasons, but if you go to:

1973 Dodge B300 Van Wiring Diagram

Down near the bottom of the page is a reply from "Frank Cook" who claims he has a complete 1973 B300 wiring diagram and if you contact him he will send you the part you need. He has posted his email address

(personally I find it amazing that a 37 year old wiring diagram can be found at all!)

Bob
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Old 02-20-2010, 04:46 PM   #14
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Thanks for the link! I emailed him. I hope I get a reply. It's very hard to find ANY information on these old beautés.
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