Hello! Wanted to introduce everyone to our project.
(Scroll down for pics)
My girlfriend and I picked up "Clive" on Craigslist for $750. A few quick specs:
-1977 Brave D26RT (26' Length)
-Mopar 440 V8 (built and modified)
-Dodge M400 chassis
When we bought him, the owner said the only time it had run in the past 12 years was a 3 mile drive 5 years ago. After many attempts, he finally sputtered to life, and I drove him several laps around the seller's barn to try and shake the cobwebbs out before the 45 minute trek to my shop. He made it, and I got to work. I only had two months before I needed to drive this old dog from Minneapolis, MN to Tampa, FL for a new job at a large RV dealership.
Clive was everything you'd expect from a $750 RV from the 70s. The roof was shot, with water pouring down from a sagging AC. The orange shag carpet was heavy with dirt and debris. There was evidence of rot and water damage in every corner, along with garbage left from previous owners.
As we got him:
First step was to remove the roof. I had seen many projects where people spent weeks peeling off old sealer and carefully resealing everything. I didn't have that kind of time. But I had power tools. And an overhead chain hoist. Time to rip that leaky tin off.
Now that we could see, we got to work gutting the interior. Nearly everything was torn out and all original holes and wall damage was filled and sanded.
Once everything was smooth, painting began. We also replaced remaining cabinet hardware and hinges.
And then there was the ugly cab area...
A wiring nightmare, orange shag carpet, and surface rust stood in my way.
Now that the shag is gone, time for fake hardwood flooring. Lock together style.
We replaced the dinette with a nice little retro couch in front of some wainscoting.
Repaired the cracked dog house, added dynamat, and prepped the cab area for finishing
Little side note--all the metal trim, seat bases, and cabinet hardware are sprayed with the same nickel finish
Organized all the loose wiring and made kickpanels for under the dash. Carefully cut an opening in the vinyl dash (sorry guys!) for my Motorola Xoom tablet which feeds in to the audio system. Eventually will run lighting as well.
As we got close to our departure date, it was time to build the new roof. 2x4's were cut to length, then cut on a bandsaw so they form a shallow arch. The roof was assembled and sealed with a roll on rubber product designed for mobile home roofs.
We loaded up, and took off for Florida.
Just east of New Orleans, the tired old 440 had enough. From what I assume, the old dry cracked rear main seal failed and I lost all my oil along I-10, leading to a snapped rod in cylinder 1. We left him in a truck stop parking lot and went back for him the following weekend, bringing him the rest of the way back to Florida on a gooseneck (watch out for bridges!)
Got him to our new family shop in Florida and ripped the engine out.
Once to Florida, I sourced a rebuilt and spiced up 440 that a guy was going to use in a hot rod project. Still has the RV cam. Went hunting on ebay and really got the new powerplant looking nice. Estimating around 350-375HP.
With the engine out, I took the time to clean up years of oil blow by and grease on the frame rails.
And this is how Clive sits now. I hope to have the engine back in within a couple weeks, and then focus will be on exterior restoration with some modification (I work in the body shop of a busy RV dealer).
Thanks for checking out the project! I'll keep you guys posted as we move along.