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
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
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
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!