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Old 05-23-2016, 04:06 AM   #29
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So the list continues.
Engine runs
Trans shifts
Headlights/taillights/brake lights work
Brakes are so so, I bled new fluid into the fronts and it made a big improvement, its drivable even, but there is a ways to go.
With the engine running, I tested some things in the house and sure enough most of the cabin lights worked, the test panel lit up, the water pump came on (I just bumped it as the tank is empty).
Went at all the grease fittings with some fresh high-temp. I worry that I may have overfilled the steering control arms as the steering is "weird" now, where it was smooth before. Not notchy, but as the wheel turns the steering feels like it drags at certain radii. Steering fluid is fresh, as well.
Tires are date coded from back in 2001! My daughter has already begun shopping for new Transforce's (yes it has 16.5s).
No leaks from the engine bay, for which I am eternally grateful. I changed the oil when I first got it home and no drips, no coolant leaks, transmission is sealed. I guess at 61,000 miles it shouldn't be leaking yet but this was built during some dark days at GM.
Going to have to investigate the engine grounds, as the charging system is still not getting enough juice back in to the batteries. Considering the rust on the chassis, I would not be surprised to find a bad ground that just needs to be cleaned up.
A/C fan started running continuously so I unplugged it until I can sort that out. Way down the list of priorities.
Ended the weekend by driving it over to the local storage lot (maybe 1-1/2 miles down the road from me) so that the neighbors don't complain.
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Old 05-23-2016, 11:25 AM   #30
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We had a Class C made by one of the big makers that looked a lot like yours, except it had a side entry door. The curved sides were exactly the same. Ours was a 26-footer on an E350 chassis with a carburated 460 engine.

It was only made by that manufacturer for one year and then the design was sold to Transtar. At some point Transtar and Champion joined forces. They made a Class A with a similar, curved-wall cross-section.

It had a very strange interior layout and was quite cramped. We sold it after half a season. Six mpg at sea-level and 4.5 at altitude were unmanageable.

good luck with your project.
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:32 PM   #31
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Well the windshield is replaced, we should haul it back to the house by this weekend.

Does anyone know where to get parts numbers for the Chevrolet part of this machine? In motorcycle restoration, I can usually find a parts book which lists all of the OEM parts by part number and individual assembly diagrams. Seems like this is not the case for vans? Among other things I need a replacement hood along with some parts for the van and chassis and I have learned through my bike projects that buying a part from a year earlier or later does not necessarily fit the year that I have. Obviously a junkyard is going to be my best bet to actually get the parts, but by having the P/N I can verify if the same part crosses over years and make searching a little easier.
The good thing with GMs is the long series runs for their vans and trucks. The hood and door should fit from the entire series run. For the different years, they would sometimes change the color of a lens, or do a face-lift of the interior but the sheet metal stayed the same.

The junkyard should have the Hollander interchange manual unless you go to a pull yourself type of place. Hollander is the bible for body panel and large component interchange. It won't give you every little part though.

Good luck on your project!
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:56 AM   #32
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The good thing with GMs is the long series runs for their vans and trucks. The hood and door should fit from the entire series run. For the different years, they would sometimes change the color of a lens, or do a face-lift of the interior but the sheet metal stayed the same.

The junkyard should have the Hollander interchange manual unless you go to a pull yourself type of place. Hollander is the bible for body panel and large component interchange. It won't give you every little part though.

Good luck on your project!
Thanks for that. I knew the Champion/Transvan stuff was hard to find, I didn't expect the Chevy part numbers to be unavailable.
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Old 05-24-2016, 10:01 AM   #33
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We had a Class C made by one of the big makers that looked a lot like yours, except it had a side entry door. The curved sides were exactly the same. Ours was a 26-footer on an E350 chassis with a carburated 460 engine.

It was only made by that manufacturer for one year and then the design was sold to Transtar. At some point Transtar and Champion joined forces. They made a Class A with a similar, curved-wall cross-section.

It had a very strange interior layout and was quite cramped. We sold it after half a season. Six mpg at sea-level and 4.5 at altitude were unmanageable.

good luck with your project.
There were several lengths/models available from Champion, I have seen more images of side-door units than rear door, actually. They were also built on Dodge & Ford chassis' in addition to the GMC so there is quite a bit of variety. I can imagine getting pretty cramped in this thing, luckily my daughter is fairly lithe, but there is very little closet or storage space either inside or outside the house, so I worry that she will ultimately come away dissatisfied. Time will tell. Supposedly the 6.2L diesel engine is considered to be fairly efficient, in normal van configuration it was reported to get 20mpg+, and considering this isn't a full-on big body motorhome I would be happy with somewhere in the teens for fuel economy.
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:04 PM   #34
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Work continued over the weekend, tearing out the furniture and wall paneling to help uncover leaks, of which there are many.



If you look closely, you can see three different levels of flooring; the original linoleum on the wheel arches, the original brown-ish shag on the generator house (beneath the spare gas tank) and the current grey shag which covered everything. The deck is almost completely rotten, both of the main windows have leaks and there is water getting in at the seams of the roof so the upper cabinets are junk, as well. About the only woodwork which is not showing signs of water damage, ironically, are the walls surrounding the shower. Next weekend we will remove the kitchen cabinets and the closet, allowing access to the water tank, main electrical panel and furnace. I am hoping that at that point, we can pop and re-seal the windows and drop the headliner to locate the roof leaks. Then once no more water is getting in we can tear out the floor deck and start building back. I know I know, I should spend more time mitigating rust but this isn't a concourse restoration so I am going to apply rust converter as necessary and move on.
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:00 PM   #35
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A little advice. Hope you don't mind.

This is what we did to repair water damage on our rv walls. Tear the wall back until you come to fiberglass or aluminum. Coat the inside of fiberglass or aluminum with bondo. Follow all directions on the can. This will seal up any pinpoint holes you may not be able to see. Take out every single window and reseal. You Tube has a video on how to do this. It has been several years since our repairs and we are high and dry!!
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Old 06-07-2016, 07:41 AM   #36
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That was our original plan, however there is a sprayed insulation between the ribs of the aluminum skin which I would hate to have to replace. Given the tropical storm/water intrusion test we started this weekend, the only leakage we "observed" was through the windows and along the roof seams. If there is a pinhole somewhere, well I cannot allow perfect to be the enemy of good. There is a budget and a timeline to this project.
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Old 06-12-2016, 04:23 PM   #37
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Reminds me of where my project was a while back

For the sprayed in insulation, you might look into replacing it with XPS insulation. That's the way that Winnebago built Elandans. They have the outer skin, aluminum ribs and XPS insulation glued in between and all covered with meranti on the inside. The whole thing makes quite a strong sandwich construction. XPS doesn't absorb water, which is a good thing.

I wouldn't worry about sealing the walls or roof itself. Leaks are usually at a seam. If you do need to seal pinholes, make sure that you use a non-hygroscopic product. Some body fillers are hygroscopic. The back side of fiberglass is best sealed with a thin layer of resin. Remember that when resin cures it gets hot and can melt plastic. I can tell you from personal experience that XPS and curing resin does not go together.
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Old 06-14-2016, 09:25 AM   #38
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Reminds me of where my project was a while back

For the sprayed in insulation, you might look into replacing it with XPS insulation. That's the way that Winnebago built Elandans. They have the outer skin, aluminum ribs and XPS insulation glued in between and all covered with meranti on the inside. The whole thing makes quite a strong sandwich construction. XPS doesn't absorb water, which is a good thing.

I wouldn't worry about sealing the walls or roof itself. Leaks are usually at a seam. If you do need to seal pinholes, make sure that you use a non-hygroscopic product. Some body fillers are hygroscopic. The back side of fiberglass is best sealed with a thin layer of resin. Remember that when resin cures it gets hot and can melt plastic. I can tell you from personal experience that XPS and curing resin does not go together.
That was kind of what I was planning, drop the headliner and run a hose on the roof for a while to check for leaks. Reseal the seams and windows and if any leaks appear in the surface of the roof, hit the inside of the fiberglass with new resin and call it a day. However based on what I've seen inside so far, the leaks are pretty localized around seams so I think the skin is OK. I am looking forward to/not really looking forward to removing the nose cone (for lack of a better term, I am referring to the sloped section which ties together the cab of the van to the body of the house) because I can see daylight around the seams where it connects to the van body.
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Old 06-14-2016, 11:55 AM   #39
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Apparently my daughter ordered some new tires which should be here this weekend. OK, so what? Well since the previous owner/auto auction house didn't provide keys to everything, including the cargo lockers on the back in which the spare resides, I had to go get some custom keys made. Baby steps...
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Old 06-17-2016, 05:00 PM   #40
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I see too late now, but you really should determine what 16 inch wheels fit, prob from a later model Chev cargo van, and at least get a set on hand. 16.5 tires are difficult to find and If she keeps this thing, I would plan on getting rid of them.

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Old 06-18-2016, 08:29 PM   #41
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Tear down continues. The house window on the driver's side was leaking worse than its twin on the passenger side. Quite a bit more rust around that one, so I will have to do some rust mitigation when we take that window out, and judge if the metal can be saved or needs to be replaced. Que sera sera. Also tore up some of the rotted floor decking, with my bare hands. Luckily the steel floorboards are clean and rust free.
Didn't bother taking any pictures, but I will.
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Old 06-18-2016, 08:33 PM   #42
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I see too late now, but you really should determine what 16 inch wheels fit, prob from a later model Chev cargo van, and at least get a set on hand. 16.5 tires are difficult to find and If she keeps this thing, I would plan on getting rid of them.

Charles
Did some research on that whe we first got it, something about the wheels being "coined" makes replacement a bit of an expensive endeavor. My daughter got new replacements in 16.5 x 8.75 for something like $95/tire (plus install and balance) so that every five to six years isn't too bad of a deal. She's getting a replacement for all seven so we'll have a workable spare. No worries.
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