Author Topic: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave  (Read 30960 times)

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« on: November 01, 2016, 03:14 PM »
Let me start off with saying, this site has been a HUGE help with my project so far.  This RV came with no paperwork or manuals, so almost everything I know about the RV I've learned from here!  Definitely worth the $5 membership fee!


A few months back my girlfriend and I took our dogs on a road trip and we realized how much of a hassle two 50-75lb dogs can be.  Pic of said dogs, girlfriend and my ugly mug. 
Wanting a way to travel with the dogs mixed with needing a tow rig for my drag racing truck (and past desert trucks) was enough to persuade my girlfriend that we need an Motor home.  After searching Craigslist for a few weeks I came across an ad for a 1971 Winnebago Brave with a small block chevy engine turbo-hydramatic 400 transmission for $800 with no pictures.  It stood out to me since it had the same engine and transmission as my current drag truck so I thankfully have experience working on them and have and extra parts for them.  Plus I love the independent front suspension with dual sway bars over the dodge's solid front axle.  This is the first motor home that either of us have ever had so there's definitely a huge learning curve but we're excited for that!  Here's a few pics of the Brave when we bought it



Stats on the brave
-1971 Winnebago Brave 20ft.  Smog exempt in California so I'll never have to pass any inspections! 
-350CI SBC engine and Turbo-400 Transmission
-everything is there, just not sure if everything works yet.  Refrigerator, 4k Onan Generator, Air conditioning

The radiator rotted out and mixed coolant with transmission fluid so it wasn't running.  The guy I bought it from let me fix it on his property, so over flushed the transmission fluid and bypassed the oil cooler in the radiator and only used a small auxiliary oil cooler and was able to drive it home.  One I got it home I really started to go through it. 

Things I discovered
-water pressurizing pump is dead
-the air conditioning works
-not sure about the refrigerator since I'm working on it on an incline
-not sure about the generator, it didn't come with a spark plug and haven't played with that yet
-almost all the gauges work
-power converter works but doesn't charge the batteries
-stereo works and with a tape adapter I already have we can play music from our phones
-sadly the RV doesn't have a grey water tank.  I'll have to figure that out

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2016, 03:14 PM »
Right off the bat the Brave needed a new starting battery, so we bought one of those.  To try to help keep costs down I grabbed two extra car batteries I've had from past projects and hooked those up in parallel for our coach batteries for now.  I don't have any pics of that right now, but will grab some tonight or tomorrow.

We plan to put new flooring throughout the whole RV so we started pulling the fake wood floors only to discover that it was just installed over the factory tile floor.  Needless to say we're pulling all of that out. 

We pulled all of the fake but not bad looking tile work down

While working on small projects around the RV I noticed the rear driver side brake cylinder was leaking.  While replacing that I stripped the seized up brake line going to it and had to go to the junkyard to find a new line.  Thankfully I was able to find one and while we were there we picked up these chairs.  Sadly these are the most comfortable chairs that we own.

After sitting in these for a few minutes we think we're finally starting to understand the whole being RV people. 




Up next for the Brave
-We purchased a True-Cool max transmission cooler as a stand alone transmission cooler (GVW rating of 40,000 and 45,000BTU rating).  I'm not a fan of the transmission cooler being inside the radiator and we live in southern California so most places we go won't be too cold.  The model we bought also comes with a cold weather bypass valve that bypasses the cooler until the fluid reaches operating temperature so cold climates shouldn't be a problem.  Although I do plan on installing a transmission temperature gauge in the dash. 
-Repair some water damage.  The upper ladder mount on the RV caused a leak so I need to go in there and replace that wood
-Buy a power converter that also chargers up the batteries
-My girlfriend's dad is redoing all of our seat and bed cushions
-The 624 SBC heads on my engine are prone to cracking and have anemic 76cc chambers, giving me a compression ratio of 8:1.  I have an extra set of 70cc chamber heads in my shop that I plan on throwing on my engine to bump up the compression ratio to 9:1 to help with torque for towing. 
-Convert from my points distributor to a HEI distributor
-and a thousand other little things.  I haven't been to Camping world yet but I'm exciting but also extremely scared for my wallet. 

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2016, 04:01 PM »
A few question I have
-How important is it to be able to take the cap off the water fill tank so that you could manually pour water into the tank?  For the life of me I can't get that thing off
-How much weight can the bed above the driver seats hold?  I haven't had the courage to jump up their yet
-Can I do something like this to combine my black tank to also be my grey tank?  Maybe I'll add a grey tank one day, but we have a lot more pressing things to fix before that.

Offline LJ-TJ

  • 16 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 2583
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1975
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2016, 08:42 PM »
Man I love the seats. What are they out of?

Offline Rickf1985

  • 6 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 5852
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2016, 09:07 PM »
You put a junkyard brake line on it?! You are a racer and you did not just make a new line? OK? If I were you I would replace all of the wheel cylinders and brakes and if one line was rusted and seized the rest are not far behind. Also, if that transmission was run with any antifreeze in it at all it will let you down somewhere along the line, Silicates and valve bodies do not mix well. It would be a real good idea to rebuild it now before it does. The 400 is a very easy trans to rebuild and there is a LOT of aftermarket support for it.

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2016, 08:42 AM »

Man I love the seats. What are they out of?
They're out of a Dodge camper van.  The junkyard had some seat from a new Chevy Trailblazer in perfect condition but after sitting in these, I had to have them.  Plus I love they have a skirts to block the view of the seat mounts.  Now to get the carpet for the front to match.


You put a junkyard brake line on it?! You are a racer and you did not just make a new line? OK? If I were you I would replace all of the wheel cylinders and brakes and if one line was rusted and seized the rest are not far behind. Also, if that transmission was run with any antifreeze in it at all it will let you down somewhere along the line, Silicates and valve bodies do not mix well. It would be a real good idea to rebuild it now before it does. The 400 is a very easy trans to rebuild and there is a LOT of aftermarket support for it.
Yup, at just $5 and half an hour of my time it was a no brainer on the brake line.  The brake line wasn't rusty, the nut just stripped out when I put a flare nut wrench on it.  Definitely not a bad idea to change out all the brakes, they're dirt cheap on these old Chevy's.  I definitely plan on getting the Th400 rebuilt.  I've owned a few and plan on adding a transgo shift kit and larger capacity pan for sure.

Offline Rickf1985

  • 6 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 5852
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2016, 07:32 PM »
Big plus on the Trans Go kit. :)ThmbUp :)ThmbUp

Offline legomybago

  • 6 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 1180
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1974
  • Make: FMC
  • Model: 2900R
  • Chassis: FMC
  • Engine: 440
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2016, 09:43 AM »
They even put the GM tilt column in it.
Never get crap happy with a slap happy pappy

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2016, 05:50 PM »
They even put the GM tilt column in it.

Is that a good thing?  Do the Dodge's not tilt?  From what I've read on here, 1971 Chevy based Braves are rare. 

Offline legomybago

  • 6 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 1180
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1974
  • Make: FMC
  • Model: 2900R
  • Chassis: FMC
  • Engine: 440
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2016, 05:55 PM »
Im pretty sure none of them had tilt....Could be wrong though. Honestly, I had no idea they even made a GM chassis eyebrow??? I figured you bought a rig someone did some transplant work? New to me i??  Tilt steering is a very good thing :)ThmbUp
Never get crap happy with a slap happy pappy

Offline Rickf1985

  • 6 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 5852
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2016, 06:36 PM »
I wish mine would tilt more or start out further back.

Offline LJ-TJ

  • 16 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 2583
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1975
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2016, 08:25 PM »
The 75 21'er Tilts. :)ThmbUp

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2016, 11:21 PM »
I believe it's a GM chassis, the identification plate in the motor home is labeled GM. 

Got a little more work done today, I installed the captains chairs.  For anyone doing a seat swap, be sure to use grade 8 hardware.  You don't want your bolts shearing in a crash.


And snapped a picture of our batteries all strapped in.   

We'all eventually buy golf cart batteries but for now the two car batteries I had laying around should be able to run our lights and water pump.

Offline LJ-TJ

  • 16 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 2583
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1975
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2016, 06:24 AM »
Pictures MAN. Where's the pictures. Didn't we tell yeah we like pictures. I'm envious. I want your seats. :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2016, 07:24 AM »
Pictures MAN. Where's the pictures. Didn't we tell yeah we like pictures. I'm envious. I want your seats. :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao


Looks like photobucket is down for maintenance.  Pics should be back soon

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2016, 03:05 PM »
Got a little more work done on the old girl.  Considering that I currently only have two used car batteries as my coach batteries I decided I needed to do something about the incandescent lighting in the RV.  Our lights were missing covers and a few of the bulbs were dead so it was a no brainer to upgrade to LED lighting.  I ordered four of these LED Dome lights and for $55 I was able to do the whole RV!  The old incandescent lights consumed 215 watts and these new LED lights consume just 25 watts!  Here's a shot of them all installed

It's amazing how bright clean lighting can make an old RV look new!


When we first got the RV both valve cover gaskets were leaking like crazy.  I pulled them off to change the gasket and figured I'd clean the oil sludge off them, sand the rust off and repaint them.  While I was at it I did the same to the intake too!



And finally there's my custom water pressurizing pump.  Besides my factory pump being dead, my water pressure system works.  Plus I really liked the concept of not having to have a pump run while I'm hooking up at a campsite.  My water pressurizing pump system consists of a $10 harbor freight air compressor, a $6 check valve to make sure my air compressor never sees water, a $13 water pressure switch and miscellaneous fittings.  Total cost $33!  Here's a pic of the setup

Although it's worked so far, I don't have much real world testing with it.  When you first power it up it runs until the water system is at 40PSI, then remains off until the system drops to 10PSI.  My only fear is that if someone is taking a shower and it drops below 10PSI that the air compressor won't be large enough to keep the pressure high enough to run the shower.  If that is the case I'll just order a pressure switch that either kicks on at a higher PSI or a larger compressor, or possibly both.  So we'll see. 

Offline LJ-TJ

  • 16 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 2583
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1975
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D21
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2016, 06:07 PM »
I gotta tell yeah mate, those seat look gorgeous. I defiantly :)ThmbUp got to go on a hunt for a pair of those. SWEET.

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2016, 03:20 PM »
Although I was suffering from a two-day hangover this weekend, I did manage to get little bit done on the Brave.

After getting the exterior lights working last week I cleaned the contacts on my exterior lights only to find out that the light gave off almost zero usable light.  Like usual I turned to amazon and found an LED porch light with good reviews, was waterproof, not too expensive at $28 and put out a decent amount of lumens (300).  Here's a picture of the old (possibly factory?) porch light and the new LED porch light. 

The install was pretty straight forward: unscrew the factory light, cut the wires, wire up the new light, drill mounting holes for new light, caulk around the housing and screw it in place. 


The next project I wanted to tackle was my lack of a grey-water tank.  From what I've read online, if I understood it correctly, I could just add a waste valve on the dump pipe, open my black tank and the grey water (in theory) will fill my black water tank.  The idea mostly came from the Gone with the Wynn's blog but I've read a few things on this forum that seem to back the idea up.  So I bought a twist on waste valve from amazon, added it to my drain pipe and am hoping it'll work.  Most places I'll be camping at won't have drain hookups and I'd rather not carry around one of those massive totes.  I currently have to drain my black water tank so I haven't been able to test it out myself yet.

The biggest downside to having a 1971 20ft Brave is that my model only has a 21 gallon tank, according to the brochure on Winnebago's website.  The 17ft model got a 25 gallon tank and the 20ft rear dinette model got a 30 gallon tank.  Oh well we'll just made due with what we have for now.


Looking through this website, I really love how people extend their rear bumper into platforms.  It would be nice to be able to do that so that I can put bikes or something on the platform and still tow my drag racing truck or another car, but  due to the steep angle from my street to my driveway, I can't add any length or else the RV will get high centered.  Plus the access door for my converter/water tanks really limits what I can have back there.  That got me thinking and I decided to add a receiver hitch to my front bumper so that I can put our bicycles or a luggage rack out front of the Brave if needed.  I just ordered a $16 receiver hitch, cutout a square from my front bumper and welded it around the edges and to the bottom of the C-channel bumper.  It's definitely not for built for towing but it'll work for taking our bikes on trips.  Here's a pic of the setup while testing out the bicycle mount. 

If anyone else wants to do this to your Brave, the only thing I would change is to attach the receiver to the top of the C-channel bumper instead of the bottom like I did.  It'll give you another few inches of valuable ground clearance.  My bumper is only held on with two bolts so I'm hoping I can just flip the whole thing over. 



The project is slowly but surely coming along, I can't wait to take it out for the first time!
 

Offline moezart

  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1972
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2016, 09:00 PM »
Nice ride as well! Love the Braves! You are quite a bit ahead of me on the build. L.E.D. is a nice touch to these old rigs.

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2016, 12:34 PM »
I finally got around to going up onto my roof and checking out what the top of the Brave needs.  Most of it is pretty simple, I need a bathroom vent window cover and a plumbing vent.  But then there's this weird dome thing.  Anyone know what this thing is?




Offline M & J

  • 7 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 1410
  • Member since: 2012
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1987
  • Make: Tiffin
  • Model: Allegro
  • Chassis: P-30
  • Engine: 454
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2016, 12:43 PM »
Sorta looks like a satellite dish antenna. Hard to tell without seeing inside.
M & J

Offline strykersd

  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1971
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Brave
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 350
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2016, 02:28 PM »
Sorta looks like a satellite dish antenna. Hard to tell without seeing inside.

It has two wires going into it at the base, then across the globe and it's filled with foam.  I have a feeling you're right.  Although I'd like a TV eventually, for now I'll just remove it to save myself any roof leaks. 

Offline Rickf1985

  • 6 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 5852
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2016, 03:29 PM »
Yea, your not blocking the fire hydrant!!!!! Brandon is gonna be all over you!

Offline M & J

  • 7 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 1410
  • Member since: 2012
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1987
  • Make: Tiffin
  • Model: Allegro
  • Chassis: P-30
  • Engine: 454
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2016, 05:58 PM »
Good catch Rick. I was task focused.
M & J

Offline Rickf1985

  • 6 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 5852
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2016, 06:16 PM »
26 years as a fireman. I do have to say it is a strange looking hydrant though.

 

FULL Membership!

Want to start enjoyingall the benefitsFull Membership has to offer?

Become a Full

Want to enjoy your

Full Membership

without ever having

to renew?

Become a: