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Old 09-16-2012, 06:04 AM   #1
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Vintage RV Owners Club
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ireland
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1980 GMC/Coachmen leprechaun



Introducing our winter project!!!!

This is a photo that was taken 10 or more years ago... Lets just say the motorhome is not as pristine these days..

It's been in our family some 20 years. My mum & dad frequently toured Ireland & the UK in this motorhome when they were members of a local motorhome club and they enjoyed the heck out of it. They parked it up in 2006 due to cosmetic and some mechanical issues, and haven't maintained or used it since.

Recently my folks decided they will no longer use it and offered it to us. It'd be a shame to let it fall further into disrepair, so my wife and I have decided to overhaul it and get it back on the road!! I just love the shape and style of these old classic vehicles!
It is currently fitted with a 400ci 6.6L chevy V8 (petrol) engine. It sounds lovely, but with the way fuel prices are going here in Ireland, I may be looking at swopping it out for something more economical. That'll be at a later stage. I have a VM 4.5L turbodiesel engine that I believe will fit.... Or maybe I'll go the LPG route.. I haven't made my mind up with that just yet.
Over the last month or so I've made good progress in getting it mechanically sound. I recently managed to fire up the engine after stripping down and cleaning the quadrajet carburettor and doing some preliminary engine work just to wake it up and get it mobile. It now starts on the button and runs pretty good, but it still needs a lot of work to get it 100%.
I'm currently working on the brakes. The camper is always parked by the ocean so the salty air has taken its toll. There is a LOT of rust. Stripping and cleaning up the rusted front calipers & rear drums has been a challenge but it has worked out OK. I still need to replace some corroded brake lines and other bits n bobs before I can consider the brakes safe to use...
All work carried out on this ol' girl needs to be done slowly and carefully. There are NO old GM vans in my local scrap yards so getting replacement parts is a challenge. eBay is my friend... As its 32 years old, I'm very much aware that anything that breaks, is only available from the US (or through UK specialists ) so I need to lubricate, carefully disassemble, clean and refurbish everything that needs attention.
You wouldn't believe the amount of WD40 I've gone through already!! :lol:
This will be a work in progress. The lions share will be the repairs to the corroded cab. There is significant rust here which needs to be put right. I'll be doing most of the work myself.
My wife will contribute towards the interior work - soft furnishings and interior revamp, while I look after the dirty job of mechanical and cosmetic repairs.
We're lucky in terms of how good the accomodation unit is. Everything works and we've spent a few weekends in it just cleaning it up and getting familiar with it. We have only a few minor items that need to be fixed there.. one or two broken handles, a little touchup paint needed here and there. But its 100% dry. No leaks from what I can tell.
All of the significant work is in the cab & chassis assembly. Speaking of chassis, it too is in great shape. My dad had the good foresight of coating the chassis with some sorta body sealer that did its job over the years but it also now needs to be chipped off and replaced. The chassis is sound but needs tidying up.

I'd like to think that we'll have this motorhome finished for the 2013 camping season! <<shiver>>

Time and finances will tell!!

Anyway, thats our story... Hi to everyone!!

Kevin
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:50 AM   #2
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Cool project If you need help just ask I've been doing restoration work for years and would be happy to answer any questions
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:04 AM   #3
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Looks like a great project. We had a 76 Leprechaun back in the day but it was on a Dodge chassis. Had a great time with it and suspect you'll have the same with yours. Have fun and Good Luck.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:21 PM   #4
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Welcome to the IRV forums.
A great project well worth the while doing. I'd think twice before swapping out that engine for something smaller unless you can adapt a diesel engine.
Cheers
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilleyB View Post
Welcome to the IRV forums.
A great project well worth the while doing. I'd think twice before swapping out that engine for something smaller unless you can adapt a diesel engine.
Cheers
WilleyB
Thanks.

Yeah, I've got an italian 4.5L turbodiesel engine that I'm told will fit with the right adapter plate and transmission coupling, but truth be told, one of the things I love about this motorhoome is the power and the sound of the V8 burble... So I'm not in any real hurry to swop out. Then again, it all depends on where the cost of fuel goes over the next 12 months!! Over here diesel is cheaper than petrol by about 10 cents a litre... that coupled with better mpg, the diesel may become more attractive as time goes on....
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:46 PM   #6
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Over here diesel is cheaper than petrol by about 10 cents a litre...
Wow, around here maybe just a few cents differen't and unless it's a very heavy rig like a class A or the real big "C 's" I can't see any cost savings of a diesel when considering the maintenance. Ours has a gross weight of only 4000 Kilo so petrol is prefeered

Willey
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