Strykersd's 1971 C20 Brave

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

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great job,,,you said you capped off ends of rear bumper,, I put rubber plugs in mine that I can pull out because I found that the bumper is the perfect storage space for sewer hose
1978 dodge coachmen class c 23ft                       1978 chevy open road class b


Took advantage of MLK Day to get a bit more work done on the Brave.  Starting tomorrow I'm back to 50-60hr works weeks so progress will inevitably slow down. 

I finally started on my towing setup for the Brave.  My Brave didn't come with a hitch but it had a 1 3/4" tow ball on a 1/4" piece of steel on the bumper.  I replaced the 1 3/4" tow ball with a 2" tow ball I had in the shop to work with my tow bar and boxed the steel 1/4" steel with 3/16" steel sheet to add more strength and a place to add safety chains/cables.  The setup is only rated at 3500lbs but that should be good enough to flat tow my drag truck or my jeep.  Here's a shot of the finished product

Oh and the magnet my girlfriend got for the Brave.

A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I considered buying a TV for the RV on Black Friday.  After talking bout it for a bit we just decided to make a Facebook post asking our friends if anyone of them wanted to trade our extra 42" TV for their smaller 32" TV and I got a ton of responses.  Although it felt like slapping a baby in the face, we made the trade.  The 42" just sat in our garage not getting used so at least this way we have a third TV that will actually get used.  I used a mono price full motion TV mount and mounted the TV right above my refrigerator.  I pulled off the wood paneling inside the closet to find a wooden "T" shaped frame.  I utilized the T, and added two more pieces of wood with the help of wood glue and my nail gun. 

The finished product.  It's a full motion mount but has a decent amount of resistance to movement so I'm hoping I won't regret the decision to go full motion. 


I like your dj-5. I had one a number years ago. It was a left-hand drive version that postal supervisors used.
One of the 4 wheeler magazines had a series on a dj that they built for off-roading. You could probably find it scanned somewhere on the net. It was in 3 or 4 monthly issues if I remember.


Yeah that's what I was thinking.  Plus I have no idea if this thing has even driven in this century.  We thought about camping in the RV overnight one night this weekend but we currently have no blinds and our dogs would have woke us up every time anyone walked by.  Blinds are on the list, somewhere haha.


Probably one of the smartest things you have done is those little trips.  They revealed  those little things that would be a much greater problem a couple hundred miles from home.

Might seem weird, but why not drive to the Walmart on the far side of town and spend the night, then drive back?  Cheap insurance.... Or assurance  :)
"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"


Thanks guys!  She's definitely a keeper but her sister is taken haha. 

Although I've put 40-50/hrs into the Winnebago every week for the last month and took this past week off from work to finish the RV and my drag truck I ran into too many issues with the truck and wasn't able to finish in time.  I was able to get the RV 'good enough' but by no means is it finished.

Ever since I replaced my water pressurizing pump I've noticed that my toilet ball seal leaks, toilet valve leaks water and that my water valve to my toilet doesn't completely turn the water off.  After taking the toilet apart to find that the toilet ball also rubbed the toilet throat, I decided to replace my old traveler 910 toilet with a new Dometic 310 ceramic toilet.   It was only $130 and is the standard height of a residential toilet (18", compared to the old 14" traveler toilet).  Here's a picture of it installed

Figuring out plumbing to it took sometime though since I had to replace the water valve too and the toilet had a different fitting than the last.  After some head scratching and a few trips to home depot I decided on a Brass Craft water valve fitting with a 1/2"NPT male thread on one side and a 3/8" compression fitting on the other.  I dunno if it's true for all classic winnebagos but mine ran a 3/8"OD copper line.  All in all I'm very happy with how it turned out!

So I've been driving the Winnebago around lately and it has a horrible exhaust leak.  After inspecting my exhaust I noticed that I was missing the exhaust manifold gasket on two cylinder.  It was so bad that I could see the spark coming out of the heads!  After swapping that out she purrs like a kitten now!

Also while driving the Winnebago lately I had my power steering return line rupture on me.  Turns out the guy who owned the RV before me cheap out on the V-belt and used a much longer one, which put the power steering pump way out from the block until the lines rubbed my frame rail.  Thankfully I was able to get a new power steering return line and it was a $12 fix.

The only other thing I have to report is that I finally got around to checking my furnace and after playing around with the pilot light setting I'm happy to report that my furnace is completely operational! 


Nice work! I like when people take the time to take pictures and post stuff like this!
I have a 73 Brave 18' but have not brought it home yet. Looking at your posts has me chomping on the bit to get started working on her!
Speaking of Roadkill, I heard Finnegan say on his podcast that he wants to put his drag boat motor in a 18 foot Winnie, put some paddle tires on it and take it to Glamis dunes on a future Roadkill. How cool will that be!
Look forward to seeing how your brave turns out. Will post some pics of mine when I finally get it home.
PS. Does your girlfriend have a sister?  :)


WOW! :)clap Fantastic Mate! She looks really, really good. I love the paint job. Turned out excellent. Girl Friend Ah ah ah yeah she's deafenatly a keeper.


I've been frantically working on the Winnebago to get it ready for it's first trip to Tuscon Dragway this weekend. 

The ends of my back wall were water damaged and I didn't feel like remaking the whole piece, so I cut out new ends and wood glued them together with a thin sheet of plywood on the backside.

My back bench/bed's particle board was rotting out, so after playing around with sheets of plywood in Home Depot and doing some research on my phone I chose to replace the wood with 3/4" birch.  I learned that it's less flexible, was a bit cheaper than the other options they had and looked good to boot!  Here's a shot of the finished product

As you can also see I'm still in the process of finishing up the back wall and cabinet

We picked our cushions up from my girlfriend's dad and they came out great!

I have a feeling the Winnebago has sat for a while since I had the pre-2002 propane fitting.  I swapped in the newer style hoses and bought two tanks and my propane system is done!

Only a few more things left to do before it's first trip this weekend!


Wow, she's a keeper that girl.  Winnie looks great also. :)ThmbUp


Ok sorry I haven't been updating this.  I've been putting in 40hr weeks working on the Brave and my truck to get it ready for Roadkill's Zip Tie Drag Races January 13-14 out in Tuscon. 

My transmission is back from the shop and the Brave is up and running! 

I've been driving it around a bit lately but need to fix a cracked exhaust manifold.

I'll change it out eventually but for this trip I'm just going to heat it up with the engine running then weld up the crack. 

I've since finished re-installing my roof

I turned my attention towards the Brave's exterior.  Our generator door has seen better days and looks like it's been hit a few times

After taking a few measurements I noticed that there is a half an inch gap between the ends of the door so I bought a 1/2" square bar and with the help of c-clamps I was able to straighten it out.  Here's the final product

We also finished painting the Brave (well minus the door)

For some reason the open tube of the rear bumper bugged me so I capped that off and love the look of it now. 

Funny side story, while painting the Brave my clumsy girlfriend accidentally dipped her hair in the gallon can of primer.  I was dying laughing

I finished putting laminate flooring in the motor home.  I can now see why the factory put flooring down before installing all the seats and cabinets, it was a pain working around all of those edges. 

My girlfriend's dad has been doing our seat cushions.  Here's a preview of the dinette cushions he sent us a picture of.

And on a side note, my girlfriend gave me quite possibly the best gift I've ever received for Christmas.  She bought me a project Jeep that we'll one day tow behind the motor home!  It's a 1975 Jeep DJ5 that I plan to build into a rock crawler!


It is not the overheating we are talking about, it is the overcooling. That can do a lot of damage if you try to run it with freezing oil in it. The transmission itself will generally generate enough of it's own heat in the winter time, that is why the pass through the radiator.


I have to disagree with you both.  My Tru-Cool Max cooler is sold as a stand alone cooler rated for a gross vehicle weight of 40,000lbs and comes with a cold weather thermostat that bypasses the oil cooler until the fluid is up to temp.  The shop I had the transmission rebuilt at has used them before and swears by them.  Either way I'll add a transmission temp gauge and be sure I don't overheat it. 


Either way, Rick's or mine, make sure you run it through the radiator cooler as well.  ;)

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


I have to disagree with Kevin here, you do need to run the transmission cooling through the radiator but AFTER the external cooler. In the winter it is entirely possible to overcool the fluid in an external cooler so running it through the radiator will warm it up as it goes through. During the summer it is better to go through the external cooler first to take the high temps off the fluid before hitting the radiator and raising the engine coolant temps. Since you are planning to travel in the coldest of temps you probably should just skip the external cooler for the winter and hook it up after your trip north.


Looking good!  Just a word of advice:  As soon as you can, get the radiator re-cored and make sure you USE the internal transmission cooler in the re-cored radiator.  If you want to use the external as well, plumb it in AFTER the internal cooler.  External coolers just aren't capable of the cooling necessary, or will over-cool, or both.  So after you rebuild that transmission, run it through the radiator.

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


Your Brave is looking nice. We had to rebuild our roof in the same area for the same reason(the ladder) that you did. However, yours looks more extensive than ours, so we were able to repair the roof with new wood and brass plates for the roof ladder mount. it is solid as a rock now.



Been so busy with work and working the on the Brave that I haven't been updating this thread. 

The roof is coming along nicely.  I'm replacing the potion of rotted roof out with a three layer roof.  First layer is 1/8" plywood, second layer is a combination of the original 3/4" thermopanel insulation or 3/4" wood beams to add support to the roof, and the third and final layer is another 1/8" plywood.  I'm hoping that by adding a wood beam on the roof where the ladder mounts to the roof I won't have the same problem I did before which caused all of this.  Here's the progress so far

When I bought the Brave, it didn't come with a bathroom vent cover or seal.  I originally purchased an aftermarket cover and seal for $22 but neither fit so I went back and bought a whole new vent assembly/fan for $26.  For an extra $4 it took all the guesswork out and gave me a much smaller and probably more efficient fan motor.  I'm banking on 40 years of technology on that one but who knows.   Got it all installed

Got some a bit more painting done too!

I also rebuilt the door lock and finally have that working now.  I just got the call and my transmission is done.  $749 later I have a brand new transmission and torque converter with a warranty!  I feel like the Brave is finally starting to come together!  I'm hoping to get the transmission in, finish painting and finish the roof all this weekend!


You must have a very accommodating tranny shop! Either that or they are going to give you a spray paint rebuild off the shelf. You really don't want that since you know this transmission works. All this one probably needs is a good cleaning and a soft rebuild. That is all of the clutches and seals but no hard parts like steels or bearings. Oh, you are going to need a new convertor.


Life has been so hectic that I haven't gotten to work on the Winnebago as much as I would have liked, but here's what I have accomplished. 

When I drove the Winnebago home after buying it, I didn't even attempt to turn the radio on just in case something happened so that I could hear it.  When I got home I finally tried to fire it up.  At first I got nothing, but then I discovered that the previous owner added a speaker on/off switch.  Once I turned that switch on I used a tape adapter and my iphone and although it played, the static was near unbearable.  At that point I decided to just order a new bluetooth head unit.  I ended up choosing a JVC KD-X33MBX head unit.  This is my first motor home and with all the glass I wanted a head unit that was easy to read in bright light so I went for a head unit built for marine applications so that I could read it in direct sunlight.  I then started pulling my old sound system out, which as it turns out there was a hell of a lot more parts than I would have ever guessed.  It had a power buffer, an audio amplifier, the speaker on off switch, a separate fader switch, an antenna amplifier and the head unit itself.  Here's a pic of all the old stuff on the left and the new head unit on the right.
It just goes to show how far technology has come!

The Winnebago had the classic car audio cutout so out came the painters tape and a cut off wheel to enlarge the opening to a single din.

And last but not least, the stereo is in!  And the Winnebago shed a few pounds in the process!

I also started repairing the water damage on the rear portion of the Winnebago. 

I got all of the rotton wood out and started building the new roof until I ran out of time.  I'll finish it up this weekend and post some pics after.

While planning the interior of the Winnebago, my girlfriend and I both agreed we need a TV.  We had an extra 42" flat screen sitting in the garage but that was way too large for the Winnebago so I put a post on my facebook asking if any friends wanted to trade their 32" flat screen for a 42" flat screen.  Turns out a ton of people jump at the chance for that.  I made the trade with a buddy and now have a TV for the Winnebago.  Here is the TV just mocked in place.

I also picked up a Monoprice Full motion TV mount for just $18 on Black Friday.  If you're in the market for a TV mount go with Monoprice, I currently have three of them on my TVs and have installed a few more for friends and they're all VERY reasonably priced.  I plan on using a full motion mount so that I can extend the TV out into the walkway and watch TV in bed in the back.  We'll see how that works out. 

I have yet to pull the transmission yet so I'm hoping I can finish the roof and get that out this weekend so that I can have it rebuilt next week.  Wish me luck!


I like the blue grey color and LED change. It would of been cool to connect at a Charger tail gater/Pub crawl. . .if I wasn't stuck in Simi Valley  :'( Digging the upgrades and looking good  :)ThmbUp


Looking good  :)ThmbUp
I'll have to go thru with LED upgrades on mine too! Also I like your paint color, I was considering a neon blue with black borders for mine.


I'm not too worried, the floor and walls are solid but the roof just sags in the corner.  Thankfully this RV has lived in San Diego it's whole life.  The previous owner sealed it back up to limit the damage, I just want to get it back to original.  Well original struction, we're repainting all of the tacky faux wood paneling. 

Going into this project I fully expected to have to go through every thing on the motor home due to it's old age.  I'm not a Winnebago purist or anything, I just wanted an 17-20ft Class A motorhome that is smog exempt in California.  Plus now that I'm getting the transmission rebuilt and have spare SBCs in the shop, I have most of the worries taken care of.  I wouldn't call it that much money, thanks to Craigslist and Amazon, I'm only in $1700 so far! 


Looking good and I am sure that when you get the report from the shop you will know why I said what I did. You are putting a LOT of money into that thing before doing the real work that should have come first, being the structural work on the water damage. I hope it does not discourage you when you open that up and see what is bad in that corner.


After thinking about it more, although my AAA membership is up to date, I decided to heed Rick's warning and have my transmission rebuilt.  I started pulling it out yesterday and am hoping to have it rebuilt and back in by the weekend.  Thanksfully TH400's are cheap to rebuild, it'll be somewhere between $450-750.

Now onto the progress.  I have a feeling that this RV hasn't driven in a few years so almost all the exterior lights had to be complete replaced, bulbs replaced or contacts cleaned.  After adding half nine LED lights and replacing three dead bulbs I finally have all my running lights sorted out!

We also started painting the Brave.  We're repaining all the gold this bluish/grey color.  Here's a preview of the paint job 

While working on all the exterior bulbs I bumped into one of the covers of my reverse lights and it was so brittle that the cover fell right off.  So I decided to take the opportunity to replace them with brighter LED units.  I went with LED reverse lights because I hope to soon add a reverse camera so the more light the better.  The first ones I ordered didn't work because I guess most reverse lights fit into large holes in bumpers these days and it would have taken a ton of work to get them to mount on the Winnebago.  The second time around worked better and I picked up these flush mount reverse lights

Although I'm not crazy about the black plastic trim around the light, I'd take black over chrome everyday.  Plus the bluish/grey paint would look good with the black.  After installing  them I discovered the electric switch attached to my transmission selector arm wasn't hooked up so I'll have to find a way to get that to work again. 

While going through my garage I remembered I had a 10" subwoofer and amplifier that came with my drag truck when I bought it.  Although my girlfriend hates the idea, I've decided to mount it under one of the dinette seats. 

Although I'll have it turned off most of the time, I want to be able to use the Winnebago for tailgating at Chargers games and possibly a few pub crawls so I need good sound.  So that I don't drain my starting battery I'll run the subwoofer power wires to the house batteries and the radio to my starting battery. 

With everything starting to come together my next project will be fixing our water damage.  Where our ladder mounts to the roof leaked and caused damage in that corner.  Here's the before shot of the area

Thanks to a cyber Monday sales I bought a few more things for the Winnebago a tad earlier than I was planning, so more to come soon!