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Old 05-13-2012, 12:10 PM   #1
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84 Chieftain, adventures in remodeling an old RV

Hello All,

Restart from my post on the new member check in.
I have come to be in possession of a 27 foot 1984 Winnebago Chieftain.
My plan is to remodel the thing and restore it to its former beauty. So far I've spent some time just crawling around the vehicle taking inventory of what we have. And what we have is pretty solid!

To give you an idea of the plan:

- Seal the roof and windows. Treat the sills to get them back to black.
- Rip out the carpet and cabinet door paneling, fridge paneling.
- Remove peeling wallpaper
- fix structural defects in dinette/furniture/cabinetry
- check out LP, electrical, chassis wear and tear items. Replace/repair as needed.
- refinish cabinetry and cabinet door paneling, install new wallpaper or repaint.
- install new flooring (we're leaning towards wood, for now)
- install new window covering
- Install new upholstery
- Presto!

I'm already deviating from my original plan to seal the roof first, since I came across the opportunity to have someone rip out the carpet in exchange for me getting a vintage Porsche running. (I know I got the better end of that deal, cause you know, who needs a Porsche when you have such a stunning beauty sitting in your driveway?)

- Last night I found a problem with the gen set fuel pump, it'll go on the list.
- I replaced the fuel filler hoses and tightened everything up around the fuel tank area.
- I found a crack in the exterior where the awning is attached. I'm thinking of putting a wood 2x4 brace behind it to strengthen the area and repair the fiberglass by using either epoxy or a patch.
- The previous owner left me with a wealth of user manuals, receipts and so on. I now have the users manual for each and every appliance in the RV. If anyone needs manual related to the 84 chieftain, I might just have it.

I'll start with some pictures of current condition for now and start adding pics as I make progress.

Outside picture


Looking towards he front

What were they thinking in the 80's?


Pantry and Closet.

Lots of work to be done for sure.

I'll be posting as we get things done and hopefully remember to take lots of before/during/after pictures.


The Dutchman

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Old 05-13-2012, 12:18 PM   #2
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It really looks to be in pretty good shape, considering the age and all. Looks like a great project!


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Old 05-13-2012, 12:21 PM   #3
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Thanks, I think It'll be a pile of fun working on this. Once I get over the ugly-as-sin color choices of the 80's we'll be fine. The floor underneath the carpeting looks great, I think little to no work is needed on it, SCORE!
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:24 PM   #4
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Old gal looks good for her age. A lot of the retro colors are coming back with more modern patterns. Have fun.

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Old 05-13-2012, 01:56 PM   #5
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Wow, I feel like I am jumping back a year and a half to when we first bought our 1984 Winnebago Chieftain. My wife and I have the exact same year, model and floor plan that you have. Luckily though we are about 80% through our remodel and the remaining 20% is mostly superficial things that we could live without, but would rather have. We have removed the wallpaper from the ceiling and the walls. Recovered the ceiling with a bright white vinyl. Replaced the ceiling light fixtures with fixtures that look more like what you would see in a home. Reinstalled new wallpaper on most of the walls and used vinyl tiles for our back splash in the kitchen and the wall behind the toilet in the bathroom. We removed all the carpet and replaced it with new carpet in the drivers area and pergo laminate flooring in the living area. In the bathroom we replaced the carpet with granite and used the same granite tiles to do the counter tops in the kitchen and bathroom, along with nightstand that we built in the bedroom area. We removed all the valances and I made new ones using crown molding. The pull down shades were all replaced with mini blinds that we cut down to fit the size of each window. My wife removed all the cabinet doors and sanded and refinished them. We also removed the old refrigerator door covers and replaced them with a gloss black poly-carbonate. The kitchen and bathroom sinks were replaced with deep basin under-mount sinks and both kitchen and bathroom faucets were replaced with oil rubbed bronze fixtures like what you would find in a home. The old 1980's wheel cover were removed and replaced with more current stainless steel wheel simulators. I put new air bags in the front coils and replaced the driver-side bell crank. Both front shocks have been replaced as well. I took the old factory cassette player out and installed a Kenwood double DIN, AM/FM DVD navigation unit. The DVD player on the Kenwood unit in the dash has a video output that is ran to a 19" (soon to be 27") LCD tv that drops down from the cabinets above the dinnette. Since it was more cost effective to replace the furniture rather than have the old stuff re-upholstered we replaced all the furniture with new.

We still need air bags, shocks and tires on the rear. We want to add cruise control, a tv in the bedroom and black glass in the cabinet doors throughout.

Here's some before and after photos of ours: Motorhome Before and After | Facebook
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:32 PM   #6
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That's just beautiful. Looks like brand new.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:04 PM   #7
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Gosh, Ya got 'er looking good.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:20 PM   #8
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It was a nightmare for about 9 months, then we finally got to a point where large projects were getting completed. At that point we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and now we've actually got to enjoy it quite a bit. We've been on two 1400+ mile trips and a hand full of short ones and we love it!
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:32 PM   #9
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That probably one of the better conversions I have seen on here. I love those old Chieftains, bulletproof and classic looking!
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:13 PM   #10
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Howdy 'beater!

Oh My flipping goodness you got that ol' lady looking good!
I am very impressed with the difference in the before and after shots. Are those new chairs? or did yo manage to re-upholster the old ones? Also love what you did with the dinette area, and well I'm going to steal more than one of our ideas.

Thanks again.

Oh, today, I discovered that the wood underneath the fridge is virtually non-existent. it's got the consistency of loosely compressed sawdust. I'm not too worried though since the fridge has to come out anyways for refurbishment. At that time I'll have the opportunity to put a fresh "plank o' wood" underneath it.

Also discovered a few cracks in the outside fiberglass, going to figure out a good way to fix those. I'm considering gutting the inside walls to the studs on that side and fixing from he inside of the fiberglass, any ideas on this, or advice?
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by The_Dutchman
I am very impressed with the difference in the before and after shots. Are those new chairs? or did yo manage to re-upholster the old one?
All the furniture is new, we purchased it from: www.discountvantruck.com
It was about $1,000 less to buy new over having the old furniture re-upholstered. Glad we did the captain chairs for sure they are out of this world compared to the old ones. The dinnette is definitely more comfortable going down the road too. At meal time I miss the old table(it was three times bigger), but still not enough to regret changing it.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:35 PM   #12
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Looks pretty much like my 86 Elandan inside. I'm replacing the counter top and table top with 3/4 plywood and gray formica tops. I also removed the queen bed and made 2 twin beds in back.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:43 AM   #13
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Wow, the outside looks great!
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:59 AM   #14
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Overall it looks to be in great shape so that gives you a good foundation to work with on your project. Good luck and keep the pics coming as you move along. I like seeing these type of projects.

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