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Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave

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strykersd:
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

strykersd:
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. 

strykersd:
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.

LJ-TJ:
Man I love the seats. What are they out of?

Rickf1985:
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.

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