83 Holiday Imperial refresh

Started by Eyez Open, January 03, 2023, 07:23 PM

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Eyez Open

Years ago I quit tinkering with boats, that was a very good day...then I ran into a old RV.I just couldn't pass her up. I've coined her Louise.


One week later

Eyez Open

Pulled the kitchen and the living room cabinets, they were to far gone to rehabilitate. Tore up the old rug and began patching up the Luan walls. The Luan really surprised me it stood the test of time very well. Used a poly wood filler to fill nail holes and imperfections. All in all I was quite pleased.



1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca

Eyez Open

So next stop kitchen cabinets, I went to Homedept for the price&unfinished cabinets,any cabinets going into a rv will need to be modified/built up to have any hope of longevity.
Pulled the a.c. outlets and then rerouted the wiring to cabinets, created a false bottom and installed new outlets into the bottom of the new cabinets. Filled all of the old outlets with foam in a can and then glued on the backsplash


Next was the paint,I settled in on Benjamin Moore Advance. The paint leaves a superior finish and is very durable. A airless sprayer is the way to go with this paint, it is really difficult to work with using a brush or a foam roller. Frankly I now think of it a resin and not a paint, in weather or temps below 60 degrees the paint has the time to level out brush marks or stipple. At 70 degrees this paint flashes/dries so fast imperfections are left,
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Eyez Open

Eyez Open

Well the kitchen is setup to finish now. The next part is a bit of a struggle,replacing the flooring. The drivers side of the RV has suffered water intrusion both wood rot and rust have occurred. Having replaced more than a few boat floors experience tells me there is no finesse here...total removal.

Below are a few pics, and one indispensable tool, it allowed me to cut out the channel the old floor was mounted on/in. The wood was badly disintegrated it cut out like butter...Well close kinda sorta.
One can also see I have a rusty frame issue, I will be addressing that shortly. I will be using oxcylaic acid, it literally dissolves the rust and most iimportantly it is safe and quite effective.





Eyez Open

After 5 days of constant wet showers of oxcylaic acid the surface rusting has been rinsed away. Two baths using Dawn soap/ borax mixture followed two water rinse's I'm done.

Another 2 days of high heat and fans the floor has dried out. I used a product called Rustoleum rusty primer to prime the frame along with the floor and a final top coat of Rustoleum oil based paint. The paint has a very nasty fuel oil smell, high ventilation is required.
I should add below the framing  aluminum sheeting was used to seal things up. And fiberglass insulation was used for insulation. Read one very big water trap, today there is no more insulation and the aluminum has had water taps drilled everywhere...The trap has been eliminated.


Potatochip P30

Looking good!
 Probably could have saved a lot of time just using Ospho vs the oxalic acid stuff as is chemically converts the rust to iron phosphate and you can paint right over without the post treatment douching with the ivory and water. Just heed the 24 hour dry time.
 Also the POR-15 line of paints and other products are made just for this kind of restoration stuff.
Now all you need is to drop in an 8.1 motor and a 4l80 or allison transmission !

Eyez Open

I pretty much considered all options prior treatments. I have used oxcylaic acid on countless boat trailers,to this date not one has suffered recurring rust. Aside from that, it is quite cheap. The acid literally dissolves rust down to the base metal and one of the reasons for the dawn soap bath...I was literally rinsing the old rust away. I should have taken pictures of the aftermath of the bathing.

I will be using Ospho for the propane tank however, it is over 6' long and hanging, I do not have the time to mess around with that project.

Potatochip P30

that galley is just "wow"
Is the counter top formica or stone?
What did you do with the walls - paint over them?

Eyez Open

The walls were painted,the countertop are Formica. Stone is just to heavy and expensive. Aside from that...This RV is a man cave..granite does nothing for me.

Since this forum is a informational exchange of how to and concepts I Wil openly state I really missed the ball on one aspect of the galley. I always mock things up to get a ideal of how it's going together and how it looks. I was so focused on just getting done I missed something that could have been stunning in my opinion.

Below is a pic of no window cutout and the countertop backsplash is covered by the wall trim/backsplash. Had I just played attention and opened my mind to a skylight approach in lieu of a small window ..that would turned out quite nice.. Perhaps another day, the adventure continues.


Potatochip P30

Still looks good even with no skylight - is there any way to get that window back in play looks like that would be the easiest to bring some light in?
 I have the funky cut galley that kicks out by the sink so the straight pre cut pieces are gonna be challenging - may have to get two sections with the 45 cut and join them but trying not to have any seam lines.
Really sucks these days trying to get people to come out to quote the work, just gonna have to figure how to get the top off and take it in to a cabinet shop.

Eyez Open

I had a few bids made on the imperial for cabinets..absolutely ridiculous pricing. I took a close look at the Navigator my friend has, those cabinets are basically a heavy built frames. They then took solid wood fascia and fastened it to the frames.

So I went to Homedept depot, picked up some cheap cabinets with decent fascia and built a frame inside the cabinet. It worked out quite well, attaching them to the wall is a bit hairy. Spreading the load of the cabinets across the entire wall studs was my approach,I am keeping a very sharp eye on the outer walls for deformation..so far so good


Eyez Open

Well the floor has been finished. Such a simple job in a house yet almost overwhelming in a RV. This rambler used a very high quality one piece OSB flooring panel. The sub frame was not designed to support multiple sheets of lower quality wood flooring the spacing between floor joists is huge.. A lot of additional  bracing was required...Read a lot of drilling into that steel frame...It is very hard strong steel..At very difficult angles.

Finally I can move on to projects that are by far less draining. The link below is actually quite helpful with installing vinyl flooring, cheater boards in a rv...priceless.



Seeing this really keeps me going.

Awesome job mate.

Eyez Open

Thank you Mlw, renovating a old RV is unique as far as I'm concerned. Doing a truck and a home in one unit can try one's patience. Yet quite fun and rewarding in the end.

The trick is having a sense of humor and that can be quite fleeting at times.

Eyez Open

One last big interior job left, replacing the flooring on the front pedestal area. And cleaning up yrs of quick fixes by the previous owner. Nothing to serious this time just time consuming and once again money.
Screenshot_20230602-210607.jpgScreenshot_20230602-210631.jpgScreenshot_20230602-210642.jpg  Screenshot_20230602-210636.jpg


Especially money... :'(  ;)  :grin:

But we know why we are doing it...  :)ThmbUp

Eyez Open

Finally getting to a finish, installing carpet is quite something else. Almost as bad as taking it out..read lots of staples and quite a few blades for a utility knife. Dull blades slows things down and makes for imprecise fitment..read ugly.


Eyez Open

Well that came to a satisfying end, even the carpet was enjoyable. Picked up a 10x15 remnant at home depot...$60.00 enough to do the bedroom and the driving area. Still have to deal with the wiring but for now it's doing nicley..At this point the nostalgic seating and dash will wait until next yr, unless I run into a deal on some seats.

Now onto other things...it has been almost 40 yrs since I've worked on a carb, actually it is quite entertaining to see how far I can get without a refresher...lol here I go!



It should be like riding a horse.

Once you learned you'll never forget...

... Or do you.  ;)

I must say, i found the thermoquad on mine a whole lot easier than some outboard engine carbs in the past.  :grin:  :grin:  :grin:

Eyez Open

This carb is 80s vintage smog carb, I've never played with one before. First up idle screw issues, GM used Welch plugs to restrict access..meaning no adjustments nor servicing.That is intolerable time for some modifications. I cannot stress enough the below mod is risky business, lots can go wrong, taking a hammer and chisel to a old carb is just wrong..but somebody has to do it. So a new $9.00 harbor freight mini Dremel and surgery begins. Below is my reasoning for bringing back the idle mixture screws to functionality..

All of the idle fuel must flow past the main jets.  Most idle tubes are only .030-036", some even smaller.  You'd have to be using a jet/rod combination that has less metering area with the rods fully seated to provide a restriction to the idle fuel

The idle system however does feed the main system.  As the throttle angle increases and the engine sees a pressure differential change above and below the throttle plates fuel will be introduced from the transfer slots in addition to the holes under the mixture screws.

So yes, idle fuel has an impact on main fuel delivery to the primary side of the carburetors for "normal" driving.

The big difference for a Q-jet vs many other square flange designs is that it gets fuel much sooner (lower throttle angle) from the boosters due to the small primary bores and triple venture areas created by the rings around the boosters.

The design of the boosters and venture areas also greatly increase efficiency and atomization and one of the reasons Q-jets (and Thermoquads) are excellent street carburetors and rival the very best fuel injection set-ups for efficiency and fuel economy.

I've actually built scores of Q-jets to replace both factory and aftermarket Throttle Body style fuel injection systems and not once to date has any of those folks complained about increase fuel consumption or not as user friendly anyplace.  Matter of fact most absolutely LOVE the switch back to a carb.

Case in point.  A very good friend of mine owns a Chevy 1 ton dually crew cab with a 454, TH400 and 4.10 gears.  It came from the factory with a throttle body FI system.

Despite his best efforts and everything with the factory ECM working correctly he got HORRIBLE mileage and not overly impressive for power output.  We selected a 1985 dedicated 454 Motorhome Q-jet and he installed a factory cast iron spread bore truck intake.  We also built him an HEI distributor with a custom advance curve and vacuum advance.

He had to purchase a fuel pressure regulator and set up a return system for the high pressure factory fuel pump, but overall the swap was relatively easy.  He couldn't believe the improvement that the carburetor and HEI had over the TB and ECM set-up.  Fuel economy went up, as did throttle response and power output clear across the load/speed range.

The only possible negative was that he had to "pat" the throttle once in the morning to set the choke, otherwise he said the new set-up was better to the FI in every other area.......Cliff

My first attempt to remove the plugs and idle screws became complicated. Opening up the plugs from the front did not give me full access to the idle screws. I had to literally cut a channel into the carb body exposing the plug and then chisel out the top of the roof. Caution is advised here, oddly enough the plug body is brittle...it breaks up almost like hard glass. Patience is required. The last picture shows the channel cut, the roof of the plug fractured and the idle screw still snuggled in the plug..From there it screws out, later I will post my special tool to get at screw...it still a very tight fit.


Eyez Open

I've found a diagram of the process and posted a picture of the final results.

New studs installed, they protrude about 3/8" outside of the carb body, no issues have resulted.



Eyez Open

Well that's been completed, a very strange experience. At almost every turn I was able to recognize what was going on. Now rebuilding it aka putting it back together without force and or getting a good fit was another thing. Fitting the power circuit was very humbling, thick gaskets&delicate spindles...I now understand Quadra junk.. patience is required the Quadrajet is not a tinker toy.

Below are some links that helped me thru this blast from the past.

I used Pinesol in a 50/50 water mix to clean dip the entire carb for 48 hours.
I also dipped the carb body for 24 hours in oxcylaic acid and then a dip in baking soda water for 5 minutes . The acid will dissolve any built up corrosion over the yrs, and there was water intrusion notice the white build up on the idle mixture screws.. It should be noted some say the acid will degrade the carb body. I've yet to see that In a marine carb..over 15yrs and nothing. Those chemicals will turn your carb black..but it's a RV motor not a show car..

Pulling the idle tubes can be trying, take your time. As to drywall screws, use only that type of screw. With the idle tubes out, they fit loosely in the tube channel...they will not damage the channel if used correctly.

Below is link specifically to RV carbs, they are somewhat different than conventional Rochesters. Meaning they require specific rebuild kits.

Those are HD truck/motorhome carburetors and used special castings with an adjustable secondary airbleed/enrichment system.   Most likely due to the fact that those engines would spend a lot of time on the secondaries towing and climbing hills and steep grades.

Most showed up on HD 454 truck engines but I've seen a few used on 350 HD engines as well.

The special full tapered 61 primary rods are correct but I've never seen 78 jets in one to date.  I suspect those were added by a well meaning tuner that didn't under stand the APT system, which on that model is a little different than others being adjustable for height and travel/limit of the PP.

They have a pretty rich idle set-up for an emission years carb.  Most are part numbers 17085212 and 17085213, but they were made with a couple other part numbers as well.  17085000, 17085003 comes to mind or something close to that.

Be warned that they use different parts and gaskets and will NOT work well if the wrong ones are installed during the rebuild.......Cliff





Great video it goes into detail in regards to secondary operation..Frankly Quadra jets get a lot of hate due to there linkage system.Great stuff getting it working right.


Perhaps the most thourgh thread on the net in regards to the Quadrajet




Yes, very recognisable,

With the Thermoquad I also received a kit with three types of gaskets, screws and rings.

both carburators are not for the faint hearted and that's why they are called ...junk but boy when you get these to work proparly they beat a lot of other carbs (or so car enthusiasts say).

I rebuild mine and didn't find it to difficult and the huge advantage of the thermoquad over others, reducing or even deleting vapor-lock, pretty important with our old style motorhomes with lots of heat producing V8's  ;)