Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave

Started by strykersd, November 01, 2016, 04:14 PM

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Quote from: Wolgie on September 30, 2020, 11:34 PM
Thank you for sharing. We have a 1972 Winnebago Brave and we are still trying to get her home so we can bring her to life. Did you have yours towed?

I've had mine towed once thanks to my AAA membership.  They brought a big rig with a flatbed and a more traditional tow truck to load it onto the flat bed.  Takes much longer for them to get you a tow, but worth every penny of that AAA membership.


Thank you for sharing. We have a 1972 Winnebago Brave and we are still trying to get her home so we can bring her to life. Did you have yours towed?


Wow, what an awesome trip!
Thanks for sharing!
1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 1981 Ford F-100 Custom tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.


I find myself teleworking 50% of the time this fall due to COVID so I've been doing more work to the RV in preparation for either another long trip or just weekend trips to the desert. 

While preparing for our last trip I tested our coffee maker (Nespresso) our on 1500 watt, modified sine wave power inverter.  The coffee maker wouldn't even turn on.  So I started casually browsing Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for a pure sine wave inverter.  I found a lightly used 2000 watt Xantrex PROwatt pure sine wave inverter for $250.  I bought that and turned around and sold my PowerDrive 1500 for $80.  Now I can finally use our coffee maker on the road!  I'm running out of real estate on the back wall of the RV. 

A big reason of why we bought the pure sine wave power inverter was that we need a microwave in the Brave.  After a long day of driving the RV or a long day at a racetrack or at the desert, sometimes we just don't feel like cooking on the stove or in the oven.  We decided on a Magic Chef Retro 700 watt microwave.  We liked the small size of the microwave and appreciated that it has analog controls instead of digital controls to help with power usage.  Turns out installing a microwave was a much larger job than I originally thought.  I had to take out the shelf inside the cabinet.  Change the single shelf into two different height shelves with a support in the center.  Enlarge up the cabinet opening.  Make a retainer to hold the microwave in place so that it can't fall out.  Then add a electrical outlet inside the cabinet so that you wouldn't see any microwave wires.  All in all I love how it turned out!  I still need to paint the metal retainer beneath the microwave and do something with the space above the microwave.  I'm thinking a custom spice rack.  My kitchen with the new microwave installed. 


While driving through Oregon I kept noticing unattended weight scales.  After passing a few I decided to stop and weight the Winnebago.  Here's the results.  Top number is weight on front axle, bottom number is weight on rear axle. 

3,000lbs up front and 7,650lbs out back to give me a total weight of 10,650lbs.  The only problem with that is that my VIN plate states that the max gross vehicle weight of 10,000lbs with a max of 4,000lbs up front and 7,200lbs out back.  So technically I'm 650lbs over.  I'm not stressing about it but it's good information to know.

I started putting more thought into the weight breakdown
-We filled up on gas soon before the weigh in.  My Brave holds 60 gallons of gas in the tanks and I carry an extra 10 gallons on the rear bumper for emergencies. Gasoline weights about 6lb/gallon so full tanks would account for 420lbs
-My girlfriend, myself and two dogs 530lbs
-we recently dumped our waste tanks and filled our water tanks so we had 30 gallons of water on board.  At around 8.33lbs/gallon that's 250lbs
-my motorcycle carrier and motorcycle are about 420lbs

My biggest take away from this is that I should be more weight conscious.  Maybe I should build a hitch on the front of my Winnebago and use that for carrying my motorcycle.  Every time I fill my water tanks I fill them completely and never use it all, so I'll try to be more water conscious when filling my tanks.  Has anyone else weighted their 70's era Winnebago?  If so how much did it weigh?


This year since July 4th fell on a Saturday, my girlfriend and my job gave us that Friday off as a day in lieu of.  With that in mind, we decided to take the other four days off that week, combine that with the weekend before and after to give us nine days to take the Winnebago out.  We decided to take the RV to sight see and visit friends in family through California and Oregon.  Here's our route

A few shots of our Winnebago at Crater Lake

We even encounted some snow in Crater Lake in JUNE!

A few pics of our dogs on the trip

Rest Stop camping somewhere in southern Oregon

Our view from a viewpoint we camped at for a night along the southern Oregon Coast.

All in all the trip went great!  It was both my gf and my first time in Reno, NV and Crater Lake and along the Oregon Coast.  We parked at either rest area's or on friends/family's driveways so we never had to pay for a campsite. 

Mechanically the RV did get one flat tire and had one mechanical fuel pump die on us, but I carry a spare fuel pump and two spare tires so those were quick 30 minute fixes.  We averaged about 8mpg and thanks to the Gasbuddy app were able to find the cheapest gas stations along our way, saving us up to $.60/gallon at times.  The next upgrade I want to do on the Brave is to add airbags to my rear suspension.  My Brave, especially while towing or bringing the motorcycle squats in the back.  Airbags can help me level it out.


Since COVID is still in full swing, my girlfriend and I decided that we should take a week off work and travel in the Winnebago.  Like I do before every major trip, I spent some time fixing and upgrading items in the Winnebago for the upcoming trip. 

For years I've been running a Xantrex 450 watt, modified sin wave, power inverter that came with my solar kit.  Despite it's small wattage rating, it's been great for powering our TV, charging laptop computers and occasionally running out refrigerator.  While browsing Craigslist I came across a PowerDrive 1500 watt, modified sin wave, inverter for $50.  Before purchasing it, I contacted Powerdrive's parent company RoadPro to confirm that the inverter's fan doesn't operate at all times and just during higher power demands.  I do this to help conserve battery power.  They confirmed that it indeed only runs when needed, so I pulled the trigger and ended up buying the inverter for just $45.  I then turned around and sold my 450 watt inverter for $50!  Here's the inverter installed in the back of the RV. 

Ignore the 10 gauge wire, that was the wire I used to power the 450 watt inverter and just hooked it up to test this one.  I have since replaced the wire with 0 gauge wire and a 200 amp fuse. 

My next project is one I take very seriously.  Travelling far distances in a 49 year old RV requires backup plans for when things go wrong.  The last few trips I've towed my Jeep or drag truck, so in case we had any issues with the RV I had a way of getting parts.  A year and a half ago I bought a KTM Duke 390 motorcycle for commuting and with the intent to put on the RV for long trips.  Not wanting to have to tow a vehicle for this upcoming trip, I finally purchased a motorcycle hitch carrier.  I had this in mind when I added the trailer hitch a few months ago, so I re-enforced the frame at that time to hold the weight.  I picked up a used Mototote 600lb motorcycle hitch carrier off craigslist, which could easily carry my 340lb Duke.  Here's the setup on the back of the Winnebago

The rack along with a $10 hitch stabilizer off amazon, worked like a charm!  There was zero movement and it felt like the motorcycle rack was part of the Winnebago's frame. 


Very cool!  Love the updates on your rig.  Keep 'em coming!


It's been a busy 2020 for my Brave!  In January I started the year out with a trip to Tuscon and Tombstone, Arizona with some buddies.  We were in Tuscon for Roadkill's zip tie drags and decided to shoot out to Tombstone since we had a three day weekend for presidents day.  The Winnebago towed my GMC Sonoma and a dual axle trailer (probably 5000-5500lbs total) and got 7.5MPG while doing it!  My Sonoma blew second gear out of it's TH400 transmission on the first pass but I still had a good trip!

Come the end of the trip, my starter was acting up a little bit so once I got it home I decided to swap it out.  Thankfully I have so many SBC parts I had on one my shelf.  I took this opportunity to finally swap out the massive direct drive starter and replace it with a much smaller gear reduction starter. 

In February, a buddy and I drove the Brave out to Johnson Valley, California to spectate at the King of the Hammers race.  Nothing too crazy but it's so much nicer sleeping in the Winnebago than a tent in the desert. 

When I got back from King of the Hammers I've been working on my offroad toy, my 1975 AMG Postal Jeep.  A big reason why I bought the Winnebago was for it to tow this jeep and my Sonoma.  When I got it, it was stock with a inline six engine, 2WD and 24" tires.  I've since added full width axles, stretched the wheelbase, converted it to 4WD and swapped in a V8 engine.

Once I got the postal jeep build done, I had to figure out some way to tow it with the Winnebago.  In the past I towed with a bumper mounted tow ball, but due to the height I would need my tow bar to be, I had to install a tow hitch.  Here's what I started with.

I re-enforced my frame extension, beefed up my bumper and added more supports that tie back into my frame.  Here's the finished product. 

Then this past weekend we took the Brave and my postal jeep out to the desert for the first time!  It was my first time flat towing and although it's not as nice as towing a trailer, it's a whole lot better knowing I can break the postal jeep and still get home.

And a picture of my girlfriend Taylor, our two dogs and myself.


Very cool!  Love the updates! 


Been busy with life, a new job and working on my other projects so that Winnebago has been neglected the last few months.  I'm still doing a little work here and there to get it where I want it. 

After sitting for years the plastic in my guages got brittle and cracked.  I didn't mind it at first, until the plastic stopped my oil pressure guage from operation correctly so I had to do something about it.  I had to replace the oil pressure gauge and decided to change my ammeter gauge to a voltage gauge while I was at it.  I picked up a 2" Bosch gauge kit from summit racing for $40 and they bolted right into place.  Here's a shot of my old gauges on top and the new gauges down below. 

The next project was my outdoor shower.  Although the rear dinnette models came with a 30 gallon grey/black water tank, my base model only came with a 21 gallon tank.  With that in mind I wanted an option to rinse off at the beach, wash the dogs or even just test the water system without having to give up the prescious space in the our tanks.  After poking around the RV I decided to install the outdoor shower between my water heater and bathroom so that I could just T into the water lines that connect the two.  I built a frame out of 2X4's, cut a hole in the side of the winnebago, then sealed it all up with butyl seal tape.  The whole thing only cost me $70: $40 for the shower and $30 for fittings. 

I'm hoping to get more use out of the Winnebago more here the next few months.  I want to host a bonfire at the beach before summer is over, do a few weekend camping trips down in Baja and am considering a long trip up the west coast all the way to Vancouver.  I'll keep you posted!


I see all of your old pics, all you need is the photobucket imbed app.


When my Harbor Freight air compressor I use to pressurize my water tanks failed on me during my last trip we were stuck with 25 gallons of water in our tanks that we couldn't use.  When I built my last water tank air compressor setup, I tapped the output on the air compressor to 1/16NPT so even if I did find a Harbor Freight to buy a new compressor, I didn't have my 1/16NPT tap in the Winnebago.  In Tucson I ended up just going to Home Depot and buying an air compressor fittings kit that had a Schrader valve to barbed wire fitting and just used the air compressor I carry to air up my tires to pressurize my water tanks.  After this failure I decided that when I redo my water tank compressor that I would first get a better compressor, second I would power the new compressor via a cigarette lighter socket and finally hook the compressor to my water system via a Schrader valve.  This way if my air compressor fails in the future I can just pick up another compressor from an auto parts store/walmart/target and get back on the road.

I ordered the smallest air compressor in Viair's lineup, their 70P compressor for $40.  I cut a small piece of aluminum sheet and shock mounted it with rubber isolators I got from my work.  It's much quieter and rattles much less than the old Harbor Freight setup!

Here's a picture of everything installed in the factory location including the water pressure switch and cigarette lighter socket.

While preparing for the Tuscon trip, I had a buddy who was supposed to come down from Phoenix and hang out for the weekend but with how crunched for time I was prepping for the event and never really knew if I'd make it until we were actually there, he didn't end up coming down.  In preparation for a third guy in the Winnebago I had to get the bed above the driver and passenger seat in operating condition.  Funny story, for the first few months of having the Winnebago I had no clue there was a bed up there haha.  The bed has always pulled out just fine, but I never quite trusted it to hold weight.  Before the trip I decided to test it out myself and it held all 200lbs of me.  The problem is that after I got up there I didn't have a good way of getting down haha.  I went to amazon and picked up a bunk bed ladder for $56 and its the perfect size.  Here's a picture of it setup and my storage spot for the ladder when the bed isn't in use. 

Eventually I find time I'll go through this whole thread and repost the pictures on my Google Drive to get rid of all the photo bucket ads on my old photos. 


While prepping for this trip I planned on flat towing my truck behind the Winnebago.  I did a test run flat towing the Sonoma and it was a huge pain preparing so I ended up borrowing the trailer from a friend.  After seeing how much of a pain it is flat towing the Sonoma, I doubt I'll ever do it again.  I'll just use the tow bar for towing my Jeep in the future.

The Brave can definitely use some help in the towing department.  I don't even a tow hitch on the back of the Winnebago, just the tow ball.  The frame extensions were definitely a worry of mine but I didn't have time to re-enforce them before this trip.  I definitely plan on adding a tow hitch to the rear of the Winnebago sometime soon.  It'll allow me to adjust the height of the tow ball and to run a luggage rack/bike rack out back if needed. 

As for cooling, I was working on the Brave yesterday and thought to measure fan to radiator gap, it was a huge gap at 4"!  With the fan clutch I had it down to a more usable 1" gap.  I'll definitely add a shroud and close that gap up a little bit.  I keep hearing everyone talk about how much heat builds up in the dogbox area.  Maybe it's because I have a small block instead of a build block, but my dogbox is always cool to touch.  Which makes me think twice about converting to a big block Chevy engine.


Looking at how much the rear of the Winnie is squatting with the trailer be sure to check the frame extensions VERY well! If they are good then you really need a good class 3 or 4 hitch and a weight distributing receiver. A fan shroud which is set up right make all the difference in the world as far as coolant temps. Most people think the whole fan should be in the shroud and that is wrong, half of the the fan blade should be under the shroud and the back half exposed. This allows air to be pushed out away from the fan in addition to rearward. You can move a lot more air that way. The biggest problem with a motor home is once the air is moved from the radiator is has to be moved from the dogbox area!
And with a shroud the thermostatic clutch fan will actually work correctly since it is not pulling cool air from the sides keeping it from engaging. That will make a big difference in your mileage.

Winnebago Warrior 94

Glad your back to working on your Winnebago ..we have been doing a lot of work on mine and for it looking good doing my paint job nowand its looking so very excited..I got my new tores too ..almost ready to hit the road ..yippee..that sounds like a cool trip you took and akot of fun

M & J

M & J


Sorry I signed a non disclosure agreement so I can’t disclose that until the episode airs.

M & J

Ok. But how did you do in the competition?
M & J


Hey guys, it's been a while but the Winnebago has been on the back burner the last few months.  Two and a half weeks ago I get an email from a buddy telling me that Motor Trend is hosting a new show called the $3k Hooptie Challenge where $3,000 cars drag race for a cash prize.  I applied with my 1998 GMC Sonoma that has a small block chevy engine and nitrous.  My application was accepted, I was invited and guaranteed $250 for showing up.  I then hatched the plan to tow my Sonoma with the Winnebago for the 850 mile round trip to Tucson Dragway! 

Planning on towing I worried about transmission temperatures towing up the grade leaving/entering San Diego.  I didn't have time to install a transmission temperature gauge so I just added a FTI billet transmission pan that gave me another two quart capacity.

Things I learned along the way
-With my new radiator setup I was unable to use my original fan shroud, so with around a 15,000lb load on a 350CI SBC, my engine was overheating with just the clutch fan.  Thankfully I had the forethought to pack my stock rigid fan and that cured the problem. 
-We left Thursday night from San Diego and had to get to Tucson by 8AM the next morning.  We totally forgot Arizona doesn't do daylight savings time so we lost an hour there.  We had to push the Winnebago pretty hard to get out there, results in 3.95MPG one tank.  After taking our time on the way back, we got a dismal 5.5MPG.
-The little SBC had issues pulling the weight up the grade and I had to take the grade at 30MPH at the top of first gear. 
-My large, thermostat controlled transmission cooler with deeper aluminum pan works great!  I measured the temperature of my transmission pan with my temp gun numerous times through the trip and it held steady at 150 degrees.

All in all it was a good trip!

What I've learned
-I need either a 383 or a 454 engine for the Winnebago
-I need a shroud for my cooling fan
-My harbor freight air compressor I use to pressurize my water grenaded.  It was only $10 and you get what you pay for so I'll be replacing that with something better. 
-I need to fabricate a trailer hitch for the rear of the Winnebago.  I used the tow ball on the bumper of the Winnebago and the sheet of probably 1/4" steel bent a little.  Plus it'd be nice being able to set the height of the tow ball. 

This trip got me excited to work on the Winnebago again, so hopefully I'll have more to share these next few weeks!


Any chance of uploading them to the sketchup warehouse... W% ?


You should make a bag full of them and put them on Feebay or something...
Never get crap happy with a slap happy pappy


"Anything given sufficient propulsion will fly!  Rule one!  Maintain propulsion"

"I say we nuke the site from orbit.  It's the only way to be sure"

M & J

M & J