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Old 05-16-2022, 06:40 PM   #1
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Help finding converter 1977 Dodge Fireball

Hello all! Brand new to RV's, brand new to this forum. I'm hoping someone can help me find my converter. I bought this RV a few days ago and have been focused on the engine electrical and fuel systems until today. I was trying to test the appliances, water pump, furnace and water heater. I'll be as detailed as I can be, please let me know if you need more information or pictures to help me. I do have a multimeter to test with.

The house battery is shot and has 2 black wires clipped right behind the house battery hatch. I've taken it out until I can pick up a replacement. Today I picked up the shore power cord adapter from the previous owner. After plugging it in, I have power to all of the outlets and almost all of the lights. I believe lights and outlets still run on 120VAC in these. I'm not getting power to any of the appliances or 12V systems. The outlet for the Dometic fridge is working but the fridge itself is not. I have the gas setting off and electricity setting switched on. I thought these could work off gas, 12VDC or 120VAC but I could be wrong. I'm assuming that either the converter is bad or there is a battery-to-shore power switch on the converter. Probably there is a switch but I can't find the converter.

I found the fuse panel in the bathroom closet and the fuses are all look great, though half are missing the labels. There is a breaker box in the hatch for the shore power cord, all of them are on. I can't get into the hatch very well right now because there is a spare tire mounted in front of that box, it only opens enough to get my hand in there. Could that be where the converter is? Is there a converter switch in the cab that I'm missing?

The RV is a 1977 Dodge Fireball, 22ft with a 440 engine. There is only one house battery. There is no manual that came with this RV and I can't find one online. I can barely even find pictures of this thing online. Seems to be a pretty rare beast.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.





P.S. Any idea what the black wires could be that were clipped behind my house battery?

From the positive terminal, there is a tan wire going to the fuse and then turning into 2 blue wires on the other end. I believe one of these blue wires goes to the fuse in my bathroom fuse panel, it's the only blue wire there and it's labeled "battery".

From the negative terminal, there is a tan wire going to the fuse, then remaining tan on the other side. I don't see any tan wires at my fuse panel but it does head the same way as the blue wire.

Both positive and negative terminals have a black wire. It does not go through the fuses there. It goes right through the battery box and is clipped off. I hope it's not important. Please help. Click image for larger version

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Old 05-16-2022, 10:37 PM   #2
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Have you been able to find any decals on the outside of the RV that might identify the coach manufacturer , or even the city/state where the plant was.

Any search for info should be 1977 ( Coach manufacturer ) Fireball on a Dodge chassis .
Being built before the internet and probably by a manufacturer that went out of business in the 1980s info is going to be hard to find .

I'll look over the pictures again but I haven't seen anything that looks like the converter . But I wouldn't trust any of the wiring .
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Old 05-16-2022, 11:38 PM   #3
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Hey thanks for the quick reply! Unfortunately, that is the manufacturer. The Dodge Fireball by Fireball Industries Inc. I guess they got big in the 60's travel trailer scene and managed to survive until the early 90's.

It's possible that the converter was removed at some point? I'm hoping someone with a similar RV could point out the location of their converter. No guarantee that Fireball put it in the same place but many of these 70's Dodge class C's have similar setups. I've checked everywhere I can think.

Is wiring in a new converter using the existing circuit breaker and fuse panel an option? The wiring seems to have been a pretty quality install and remains in good condition, outside of the house battery box.
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Old 05-17-2022, 12:14 AM   #4
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1) suspect LIGHTS are 12vdc (most are, otherwise no lights roadside or boondock?); 1) (most) REFRIG uses either LP FLAME or 120vac Heater, but ALL MODES use 12vdc. for CONTROLS. If there is any staining or possible refrigerant LEAKS, do NOT run REFRIG as FIRE HAZARD; 3) There are a (few) that can use 12vdc for Heater, also, but RARE, and should be rigged to ONLY use that mode while IGN=ON= traveling. NOT popular as dead battery leaves you stranded, and heater sucks battery. IF you have the rare 3-way, suspect it will have a LP/AC/12v =(3) Indicator lights vs just LP/AC =(2) lights?; 4) CONVERT LIGHTING from Incandescent TO NEW LED FIXTURES and you will be smiling.... and battery 10x longer (90% power reduction for lights); 5) Converter should have a breaker at 120vac panel, find, follow that wire to converter, if not stolen/deleted? Good Luck
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Old 05-17-2022, 03:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by THenne1713 View Post
1) suspect LIGHTS are 12vdc (most are, otherwise no lights roadside or boondock?); 1) (most) REFRIG uses either LP FLAME or 120vac Heater, but ALL MODES use 12vdc. for CONTROLS. If there is any staining or possible refrigerant LEAKS, do NOT run REFRIG as FIRE HAZARD; 3) There are a (few) that can use 12vdc for Heater, also, but RARE, and should be rigged to ONLY use that mode while IGN=ON= traveling. NOT popular as dead battery leaves you stranded, and heater sucks battery. IF you have the rare 3-way, suspect it will have a LP/AC/12v =(3) Indicator lights vs just LP/AC =(2) lights?; 4) CONVERT LIGHTING from Incandescent TO NEW LED FIXTURES and you will be smiling.... and battery 10x longer (90% power reduction for lights); 5) Converter should have a breaker at 120vac panel, find, follow that wire to converter, if not stolen/deleted? Good Luck
Thanks for the reply! Some of the interior lights, maybe 4 of them are on 120vac. They are wired with the same main wire coming from 120vac breaker that the outlets are wired with. The rest of the little ones are on 12v. At least I have some lighting and outlets!

I think the converter used to be behind the battery box in the picture below. It's one wall away from the DC fuses and I've checked everywhere else I can think of. I tried following those wires and couldn't find any place a converter would fit, it has to be just missing.

So assume for a second that there's nothing else majorly wrong with my wiring or fuses. Can I unplug the RV from shore power, install a new fully charged 12v 100ah deep cycle battery and test the 12V stuff without the converter installed? At least long enough to test systems?

Does anyone know what converter can be installed in this thing? Are they all fairly universal, as long as they have the minimum amperage required? Attachment 365721Click image for larger version

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Old 05-17-2022, 10:29 AM   #6
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On your picture ( with text ) of the back of the battery box ; you've labeled ( old inverter ) where you should have said converter .
I don't see the required 120 volt wiring for converter operation .

The black wiring that is not hooked up behind the box should be removed before the battery is installed .
You have two light blue wires in the battery box , one goes to the fuse panel in one of your pictures , the other probably went to ( or goes to ) the original converter location .

I started working at a Chrysler dealership in 1975 , there were two RV manufacturers in town and we received all the bare chassis for both and part of my job, as the new guy in the shop, was to check them in off the delivery truck, looking for damage and missing items .
With the 440-1 you've got one of the last units available with the option as engine production stopped in 78 treat it kindly .

EDIT: Your photo of the 120 C/B box shows 3 runs of 14/2 exiting the box , one run probably goes to the converter location.
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Old 05-17-2022, 10:37 AM   #7
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Didn't even know they put 440's in class C's. Thought they were all 318's and 360's, cool rig!
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Old 05-17-2022, 10:45 AM   #8
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Didn't even know they put 440's in class C's. Thought they were all 318's and 360's, cool rig!
Starting in 79 ; 360 was the biggest available .

Spark plug change on the 440 in the class C was a { self edit}
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Old 05-17-2022, 01:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
On your picture ( with text ) of the back of the battery box ; you've labeled ( old inverter ) where you should have said converter .
I don't see the required 120 volt wiring for converter operation .

The black wiring that is not hooked up behind the box should be removed before the battery is installed .
You have two light blue wires in the battery box , one goes to the fuse panel in one of your pictures , the other probably went to ( or goes to ) the original converter location .

I started working at a Chrysler dealership in 1975 , there were two RV manufacturers in town and we received all the bare chassis for both and part of my job, as the new guy in the shop, was to check them in off the delivery truck, looking for damage and missing items .
With the 440-1 you've got one of the last units available with the option as engine production stopped in 78 treat it kindly .

EDIT: Your photo of the 120 C/B box shows 3 runs of 14/2 exiting the box , one run probably goes to the converter location.
Wow, thanks for the information about these old Dodge class C's! I'll do my best to take care of it.

You're right, I did mean converter in that picture. It seems to have a bracket where one was mounted there and I think the AC wire (14/2 you called it?) might have been removed or hidden. I thought that those two black wires that still remain were from converter to battery as a way to charge the battery when connected to shore power. I'll try following that other blue wire and see where it takes me.

I'm still searching, but the AC breaker has 2 wires going driver side and one going passenger. The passenger side wire head in the direction of the battery and fuse panel. The outlet and light I showed in my last post are right next to the fuse panel, that's one wall over from the battery and possible missing* converter location. I assume the converter is on this side of the RV but I've been checking everywhere, I'll see if I can track down the other two ac wires on the driver side without ripping out wall panels!

And yes, I'll remove the black wires or at least separate and insulate them. They may well be the reason that the battery is shot.
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Old 05-17-2022, 01:24 PM   #10
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Reminds me a lot of my dad's last rig. Spend some time tracing the wires and labeling them. At that age, there's no telling who has been in there doing what to solve which problem of the time. You probably won't find a schematic anywhere, but wiring is fairly straightforward and any of the systems can be learned with a little homework. Don't be surprised if some of the wiring is shot and needs replacing. Good luck!
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Old 05-17-2022, 08:12 PM   #11
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Reminds me a lot of my dad's last rig. Spend some time tracing the wires and labeling them. At that age, there's no telling who has been in there doing what to solve which problem of the time. You probably won't find a schematic anywhere, but wiring is fairly straightforward and any of the systems can be learned with a little homework. Don't be surprised if some of the wiring is shot and needs replacing. Good luck!
I installed a 12V deep cycle today. Most of the wiring seems to be in good shape, the battery is getting power to the whole 12V system. All the 12V light fixtures work, Panoptic "water control panel?" works, fans for air system works (no heat without LP), stove light and exhaust fan work. The refrigerator isn't working and my water pump isn't turning on, though I don't know if it will turn on with no water.

What was your dad's RV? I love all these old dodge motorhomes, class A or C!
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Old 05-17-2022, 10:47 PM   #12
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FYI, In case you do not realize, the 30a Breaker is your MAIN
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Old 05-18-2022, 12:04 AM   #13
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1) So what is in the gray box next to your marking of (Inverter?); 2) When Converter installed (12v-35a) or (12v-45a) should work fine for single Group 24 or Group 27 RV/Marine? 3) When lighting converted to LED Fixtures, remove all 120v lighting wiring. What appliances are fed by other breakers? (guessing 15a to Converter?)
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Old 05-18-2022, 07:57 AM   #14
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1) So what is in the gray box next to your marking of (Inverter?);
THenne , the grey box is the back of the, OP's battery compartment .
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