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Author Topic: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation  (Read 4836 times)

Offline rude-a-bego

  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • 1976 D21 "DIMPLES"
  • Member since: 2013
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebego
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« on: April 19, 2013, 09:56 AM »
 
 Hello Fellow Classic Winnebago Enthusiasts!
I have been watching you all from afar for years; patiently waiting for the day when I could join your ranks.  On 31 MAR 2013, my dream of owning a classic Winnebago came true.
I purchased a 1976 Winnebago Brave D21.  This baby is in pretty good shape considering the fact she (official name is still to be determined) is 37 years old and has spent a lot of time in the Texas and Arizona sun.
I would say 90% of her is original.  However, 75% of that is dry rotted broken or just wore out.
I have no intention of restoring her back to her original glory.  I intend to upgrade her insides to a more modern design but keep her classic exterior as a tribute to “the good old days”.
Although I have no strict time line and a “very flexible” $10K budget, my long term goal is to have her fully renovated and on the road by 2016; her 40th birthday.
Right of the bat, mechanically, this is what I know needs to be done:
- The exhaust system is shot; new muffler and tailpipes.
- Although it came with a Onan 4KW generator, it is a 1969.  The previous owner says it does work but he had fuel line problems that prevented it from running.  I plan to replace it with a much lighter, modern generator. 
- None of the brake lights or tail lights works.
- Horn is inop
That’s it!
I had it in for a tune-up, radiator flush, brake test, and full check up.  My mechanic was surprised how well the motor et al has been maintained.   Hoses are all new, only one belt need to be replaced, the alternator is practically new, the brakes are fine, transmission is in great shape, tires are new and the batteries are less than a year old.  After some new plugs, plug wires distributor cap and tune-up, the motor was humming!  Other than an ever so slight leak in the power steering unit, she does not leak a drop!  Well worth the initial $2500 investment… and she is F-N COOL!!!!!
In the short time that I’ve had her, I have already taken two truckloads of stuff out and hauled it to the dump.  As I start ripping out the past, I am impressed by the original construction of these motor homes.  Conversely, I can’t believe the owners before me could “BS-tard-ize” a vehicle like this.  The dash was obviously pulled and not put back together correctly.  The rat’s nest of wiring is a nightmare.  I spent 4 hours tracing wires that went nowhere and cleaned out all the dead ends.
Found treasure!  After removing the back storage area, I found the original owner’s manuals and documents from the first owner!  Apparently it fell down under the furnace somehow and has not been touched for I’m guessing 30 years.  I called the original owner (80+ years old but still kicking) and asked if he had any pictures from the when he had it; hope to get some pics from him.
Other than mechanical issues, this is what I know needs to be done:
- Remove all wood except the floor.  I plan to replace all cabinets and benches.  However, my planned layout will be changed a little from the original.
- Floor is solid.  Once everything is out I plan to paint the wood with KILZ and put down heavy duty laminate flooring.
- Replace stove with two burner cook top.  I have a plan for a bumper mounted grill that I actually got from this website!
- Refinish bathroom; epoxy coat shower pan and replace toilet and sink.  All internal plumbing will be replaced.
- Replace twin metal fresh water tanks with one new plastic tank.
- Reseal holding tanks with epoxy
- Repair LP tank cover with fiberglass and epoxy
- Refrigerator works but I plan to replace it.  Stay tuned.
- Water heater works fine
- Heater works fine
- AC works according to previous owner; I have not tried this one yet
- Some pin holes in the siding; probably contributed to the wood rot.  I plan to strip the inside all the way to the siding, tape and epoxy the siding from the inside, then re-insulate and finish.
- Completely re-wire everything.  All lights will be replaced with LEDs.
In the meantime, I have the following pieces, parts, and components for sale or trade:
Coleman stove, original, complete, working: http://tucson.craigslist.org/rvs/3751448172.html
Original water tanks:  http://tucson.craigslist.org/rvs/3751795233.html - SOLD
1969 Onan Generator: http://tucson.craigslist.org/rvs/3749103119.html - SOLD
I plan on selling the refrigerator as well but have not listed it.
 
I have all the door and cupboard hardware from what I have removed.  If you are interested in any of this stuff, drop me a line.
Phew!  I am two weeks into this project and having a blast!
Stay tuned.
Peace
 

 
Rudy  ,':{ ̴

Offline rude-a-bego

  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • 1976 D21 "DIMPLES"
  • Member since: 2013
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebego
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 10:03 AM »
Let the fun begin!!!! :)clap

Everything has to come out.  Most of it will not return.
 
 
Rudy  ,':{ ̴

Offline rude-a-bego

  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • 1976 D21 "DIMPLES"
  • Member since: 2013
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebego
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 10:05 AM »
Dig that crazy orange color.   I think this is what they call tangerine in the 70's





Rudy  ,':{ ̴

Offline rude-a-bego

  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • 1976 D21 "DIMPLES"
  • Member since: 2013
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebego
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 10:27 AM »
Day 2 of the gutting.  I am trying to pace myself but this is just too exciting.

Yes, I am finding more problems as I go but nothing too major.

Remove old raggedy awning that was probably the source of water leaking that lead to wood rot and pin holes in the siding. 

Second truckload to the dump.





Rudy  ,':{ ̴

Offline rude-a-bego

  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • 1976 D21 "DIMPLES"
  • Member since: 2013
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebego
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 10:37 AM »
That is about all I have for today.  Tomorrow I have plans for more gutting!  Stay tuned.

Rudy  ,':{ ̴

Offline Wantawinnie

  • *
  • Posts: 405
  • Member since: 2011
  • Year: 1973
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain II Custom
  • Chassis: Dodge RM400
  • Engine: 5.9 Cummins Turbo Diesel
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 10:52 AM »
Welcome! Nice looking Brave. :)ThmbUp 
 
Looks like you have some fun work ahead of you.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • Full Time Adventurer!
  • *
  • Posts: 3415
  • Member since: 2005
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Holiday Rambler
  • Model: Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition
  • Chassis: Chevy/Oshkosh/HRC
  • Engine: 454
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 11:10 AM »
Excellent!  Have fun, and remember the walls are one piece thermopanel construction, so rebuilding them down to the skins might be problematic.  You might be better off just replacing rotted sections.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, and The Nautilus, our 1989 Holiday Rambler Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition.

Offline rude-a-bego

  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • 1976 D21 "DIMPLES"
  • Member since: 2013
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebego
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 11:44 AM »
 Thanks Kev,
This forum has been a wealth of info on the composition of these things and I really appreciate that.  I have hit some of the thermo panel construction.  It looks like the years of zero humidity have taken its toll on the adhesive.  In some areas, the insulation has actually separated from the sheet metal.  I am sure this is not the case throughout, unfortunately.
I got an estimate on re-siding both sides (front, back, and top are in great shape).  However, at this point I don't want to drop $3K on siding although that would make it "nice and new".  I am still undecided between "nice and new" or repaired.  Stay tuned.
 
Rudy  ,':{ ̴

Offline LJ-TJ

  • *
  • Posts: 1631
  • Member since: 2003
  • Year: 1975
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 318
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 11:52 AM »
Let me chime in and say good to have you aboard. We will be following with great interest. :)ThmbUp

Offline rude-a-bego

  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • 1976 D21 "DIMPLES"
  • Member since: 2013
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebego
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2013, 09:46 PM »
Yesterday I dropped the back two gas tanks.  Some of you might say "back two"?  The D21 comes with one in the front and one in the back.  One of the previous owners added a home made job.  Solid construction but nasty inside.  First I had to drain the 25+ gallons of gas.  Not sure how long it was in there but I thought "if you mix it with enough good gas, it should be OK".  Besides, where do you dispose of gas?

Anyway, long story long, if you don't know how old the gas is get rid of it....  that is all I am going to say.  I put some of it in the good tank and she doesn't have a problem with it but DO NOT PUT THE OLD GAS INTO ANY OTHER VEHICLE!

I also found out that our local waste disposal station has a hazmat drop off for free.

Back to the tanks, the factory tank was pristine!  When I rinsed it out, not a speck of crap came out!  Win!!!
The home made spare tank, DISGUSTING!  I was debating about putting it back up.  The extra fuel capacity may come in handy and it is custom fitted really nice.

Soooooo....  I have read up on re-lining gas tanks with epoxy so I plan to do this to the home made tank.  Check these sites out if interested:

http://damonq.com/red-kote.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_5630680_reline-gas-tank.html

Anybody have any successes or failures I should know about?



Rudy  ,':{ ̴

Offline rude-a-bego

  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • 1976 D21 "DIMPLES"
  • Member since: 2013
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebego
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2013, 09:47 PM »
This is why these tanks didn't work.

Rudy  ,':{ ̴

Offline Oz

  • *
  • Posts: 2839
  • "So let it be written; so let it be done!"
  • Member since: 2002
  • I own: a Motor Home
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2013, 11:41 AM »
We have some addtional topics on tank liners here (POR 15 comest to mind).  Hard to believe that line was THAT bad!
Previously enjoyed our '74 - D24 Indian & '74 - D24 Indian Custom

Offline DaveVA78Chieftain

  • Tech Support Specialist
  • *
  • Posts: 2735
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1978
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Dodge M400
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2013, 01:18 PM »
Quote
Anybody have any successes or failures I should know about?

Only thing I think I have is the tube inside the tank may have pinholes in it that allow it to suck air (like a cracked rubber hose).  Like you I took the tank out and cleaned it as best I could then reinstalled with new rubber and steel lines and a high volumn electric pump (return style regulator also installed).  One tank still gives me fits going uphill and that  $@!#@!  racing pump is very noisy.  I could not determine "how" to remove/replace the pickup tube.  Thinking about installing a combined level sensor/pickup tube from a van.
 
Dave

Offline Wantawinnie

  • *
  • Posts: 405
  • Member since: 2011
  • Year: 1973
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain II Custom
  • Chassis: Dodge RM400
  • Engine: 5.9 Cummins Turbo Diesel
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 02:42 PM »
Here is another option if you are looking for a sealer. I've used Bill Hirsch products for sealing gas tanks on several occasions. One I did about 20 years ago in a leaking metal tank on a Dodge Ramcharger. Holes had rusted through under the gas tank straps. I cleaned out the tank, applied tape over the holes, and dumped in the sealer. The sealer filled the holes and stopped all the leaks. I drove the truck for another 10 years or so and even plowed snow with it. It is now retired but still has the tank and whatever gas was in it from the day I parked it in the weeds.
 
Also, used the same sealer on an older car my dad has for about just as long and a Farmall M about 7 years ago.
 
Makes some nice paints as well.
 
http://www.hirschauto.com/products.asp?dept=4

Offline rude-a-bego

  • *
  • Posts: 91
  • 1976 D21 "DIMPLES"
  • Member since: 2013
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebego
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2013, 08:48 PM »
Thanks all for the info.  Will let you know how it goes.
Rudy  ,':{ ̴

Offline Stripe

  • *
  • Posts: 1989
  • That which does not kill us, missed...
  • Member since: 2012
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Holiday Rambler
  • Model: Imperial-28 28'
  • Chassis: Chevy P30
  • Engine: 454
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2013, 04:40 AM »
Did I see a spare tire mount on the FRONT bumper?
(this is now officially a hot topic) :)
Mark, was that a common thing for that year, not seen others like that..

CMM500
Fredric,
Captain of the Ground Ship "Aluminum Goose"
28' Holiday Rambler Imperial 28

Offline Wantawinnie

  • *
  • Posts: 405
  • Member since: 2011
  • Year: 1973
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain II Custom
  • Chassis: Dodge RM400
  • Engine: 5.9 Cummins Turbo Diesel
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2013, 07:27 AM »
I'd be a little afraid of that blocking airflow to the radiator.

Offline Oz

  • *
  • Posts: 2839
  • "So let it be written; so let it be done!"
  • Member since: 2002
  • I own: a Motor Home
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2013, 11:52 AM »
A spare tire was definitely not a common thing for any of the years nor was it an option.  That's entirely an add-on.  Since a custom made rear bumper storage rack was put on, it appears the spare tire mount was taken off the back and put on the front.
 
I did see one which also had the rear tow hitch mounted on the front.  I liked that idea.  Makes it really easy to push-pull a boat in the water, something I personally have decided to abstain from completely...
Previously enjoyed our '74 - D24 Indian & '74 - D24 Indian Custom

Offline DaveVA78Chieftain

  • Tech Support Specialist
  • *
  • Posts: 2735
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1978
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Dodge M400
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2013, 01:37 PM »
 
:laugh:   Mark is not allowed in the water anymore.  He only gets to play in the sand by the edge of the water.    :laugh:

Offline Wantawinnie

  • *
  • Posts: 405
  • Member since: 2011
  • Year: 1973
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain II Custom
  • Chassis: Dodge RM400
  • Engine: 5.9 Cummins Turbo Diesel
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2013, 01:42 PM »
Can I get a in detail summary of that story?   I wasn't here at the time and it sounds like a good one.   :)rotflmao

Offline DaveVA78Chieftain

  • Tech Support Specialist
  • *
  • Posts: 2735
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1978
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Dodge M400
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2013, 01:56 PM »
Not sure if Mark pulled that info over from the old site on MSN.  I was not there but he had a boat then.  Seems I recall something about a Winny almost going for a swim in the lake and had to use another one to pull it out?  Brakes almost giving out on a long hill.  Some lake up in Pennsylvania.   Some of the stuff that gets lumped in with his grass skirt and such.   I have been wondering though if how bad the "I want another Winny itch" has been getting though.  He can only live so long through the adventures of others.  Rebuilding scooters is just not the same thing!  :)

Dave

Offline Stripe

  • *
  • Posts: 1989
  • That which does not kill us, missed...
  • Member since: 2012
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Holiday Rambler
  • Model: Imperial-28 28'
  • Chassis: Chevy P30
  • Engine: 454
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2013, 03:32 PM »
ok, now I want to know..  :)

Fredric,
Captain of the Ground Ship "Aluminum Goose"
28' Holiday Rambler Imperial 28

Offline Oz

  • *
  • Posts: 2839
  • "So let it be written; so let it be done!"
  • Member since: 2002
  • I own: a Motor Home
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2013, 01:31 PM »
Oh, I wrote an entire "saga" on that trip.  It was like an ongoing adventure of what new, major catastrophe, breakdown, screw-up or hijynx I'd get into each day... and there was no shortage of material to write, believe me.  It was one thing after another.  I did manage to copy a portion of it but not all, sadly.  It was quite entertaining - in retrospect, and I did a good job writing it, if I do say so myself.... Yeah, I tore up a propeller, the boat sank and the Winnebago was within inches of doing the same (on separate occasions).  Brakes on steep downhill caught fire, had to take a breathalizer for the Park Ranger after ramming the boat onto the trailer since the winch stripped (even though I wasn't drinking), the CWVRV group was accosted by a sneaky, geeky, Rent-a-Ranger.... you know, the usual...
Previously enjoyed our '74 - D24 Indian & '74 - D24 Indian Custom

Offline moonlitcoyote

  • Full Time Adventurer!
  • *
  • Posts: 603
  • Homebago
  • Member since: 2012
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1985
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain 27RU
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2013, 03:15 PM »
So where is the portion you did copy? It sounds like some great reading. Although the brakes catching fire on a steep downhill has always been a recurring nightmare for me even before we had the winny. In my dream I always try to grab kids and jump before we ram something at the bottom of the hill.

Offline Oz

  • *
  • Posts: 2839
  • "So let it be written; so let it be done!"
  • Member since: 2002
  • I own: a Motor Home
Re: 1976 Winnebago D21 Brave complete rennovation
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2013, 05:53 PM »
I have it printed out... that portion was called "the Crop Duster"  In the end, it had nothing to do with a crop duster, it's an intentional word play of changing the first two letters.  I doubt I'll ever go back and pen it again.  It could never match the original which was lost.  Back to the present and current sagas of vintage RV ownership... and the rennovation!
Previously enjoyed our '74 - D24 Indian & '74 - D24 Indian Custom

 

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