'73 Chieftain II Custom interior renovation

Started by Wantawinnie, February 09, 2012, 05:23 PM

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Sounds like the pieces to the puzzle are really starting to fit into a whole picture.  You're going to be one, very proud classic RV enthusiast!
1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


Thanks! It does give me a good feeling bringing it back into working order again. I am taking the family camping up in Minnesota and meeting up with my aunt and niece over the weekend. I wish the old girl was ready for a voyage but maybe next year. I am borrowing my dad's newer travel trailer instead.

Also, we decided to go with glueless sheet vinyl for flooring. I don't feel like messing with laminate and my wife wants something lighter and "non" wood looking. Still deciding if the original counter top and backsplash will stay for now. They are decent enough and, to be honest, I really want to wrap this up and get using the beast.     


Had a nice time camping last weekend in Minnesota with the travel trailer. It gave me some inspiration to keep working on the Winnie and start some classic adventures.

I did have a little problem last night with the 12V power. I have been running on shore power for the last few weeks working in the rig without issue. The house battery was junk but the donor rig had a newer marine battery so I decided it was time to put that in yesterday.

There are two converters in the Chieftain II's. The first unit is a Progressive Dynamics 708 with battery charger. It runs the 12V power on the left side of the coach, a furnace, and the water pump. The 2nd unit is a Phillips PC-301-A-2 that runs the right side 12V power, the other furnace, and the recirculating toilet.

The house battery was fully charged but when shore power was disconnected there was no 12V power on the left side of the coach. Knowing the left side was run off the 1st converter the issue was most likely in that area. Note:(At this point I should have stopped and done a search on this site) N:(  Instead of doing that I began troubleshooting all the wiring from both converters trying to figure out where the loss of power was. After removing a bunch of old electrical tape and tracing wires I found the one responsible for power coming out of the 1st converter. Thinking the converter was the issue and it was late I went home and fired up the CWVRV search engine. Turns out the automatic relay in the converter was not kicking out and a small hand tap on the Progressive Dynamics converter did the trick. I will keep checking it but, hopefully, it was just sticky and will begin working on it's own after sitting for the last 3 years. It wasn't totally time wasted because when this is all said and done I should know the rig from front to back and top to bottom. ;)


LOL!  And that good, old-fashioned "hand tap" would have cost about $350 by a mechanic.   :)rotflmao

Glad you're enjoying it while you're toying with it.  Never knew the Chief II had two converters!  Hmmm... must be like Kevin, one for the right brain and one for the left....
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.


renovation looks great!!!! keep up the good work. man, i sure miss menard's!!

i saw that u replaced your stove...i was curious what the copper propane line going to it looked like when you pulled the old one, was it kinked anywhere?

reason i ask:

back when i was a pup of about 7, in 1968, we were on vacation in british columbia with a '64 winnebago travel trailer. woke up one morning and remember my dad outside the trailer literally hammering the side back in...the side the stove was on. found out later, dad lit the stoves oven at 6am to make breakfast and BOOM. boy, i could sleep thru ANYTHING back then, i miss that time...lol.

fast forward to 1983 and my dad and mom were on their way to las vegas in a '78 Itasca 25' motorhome they bought new in '79...in a campground while making dinner, mom lit the stoves oven and BOOM...it blew, and the only thing that saved the rig was the fact the water pump was turned on, and when the stove blew, the plastic water line broke and sprayed water all over the fire behind the stove putting it out.

at a non dealership service center in utah they took out the stove and wallaha, the propane line to the stove had been kinked from the factory.
dad saved receipts for EVERYTHING all his life, so a few months later on his way to the kentucky derby he swung by forrest city, told them of the problem, showed them receipts from the incident in 1968 as well as the latest, and here's what winnebago did...

they paid both receipts, took the itasca in and at their cost replaced the carpet that had been wet as well as some paneling that had been wet when the stove blew, and all the plastic water lines and new copper line to the stove as well as comping his rent at their park in forrest city while he stayed there.

thats (2) winnebago products in 1 family where the stoves oven blew due to a kink in the propane lines...while all rv manyfacturers make an access door or open access for the fridge and water heater, i wonder why they never made one for the stove...the stove is out, u attach the propane line and then push the stove in place...and copper is funny in that it doesn't form when forced very nice...u would think an access door would solve that problem...

so thats why i asked what your propane line to the stove looked like when u pulled it out...

i redid my countertops in my '78 chieftain last summer, and had the stove pulled out and raised slightly when i remembered this, so i pulled a little further...yup, my line had been slightly kinked "in" towards the wall, not 'out' as in i kinked it when sliding the stove out and up as well, tho i also must note that my oven looks like its never ever been used....i replaced the line.

i saw another post on here where refrigerators are a good source of fire in rv's...i think the stoves are kinda overlooked here...as in my families case, this is now (3) rv's with the same problem in my lifetime.

anyways, didn't mean for this to be so long, just wanted to ask what yours looked like outta curiosity and to give the other readers a heads up.


Thanks for the heads up on the LP line issues you have seen. I don't recall any kinks in the line but will double check prior to hooking anything up. I have been focusing on the engine swap so the interior work has been put on the back burner(intentional stove pun there). :laugh:


SPEAKING of the engine swap?  Hm? Oh! took time off for Christmas did we  :laugh:


That and the below freezing temps in the unheated shop that got me slowed down. :(


 Sorry for the very late reply, but I havn't been on the site daily for a while. The renovations you have done look great. The table you asked about is 18" wide and 3' 6"' long. It uses two legs located 2' 6" apart. It stores vertically in the pantry in a dedicated slot next to the shelfs. The legs snap into holding brackets attached to the back of the front panel of the couch base, which folds down for access. The holes in the floor for the tubes, have round wood plugs with carpet glued to thier tops that go in when the table is not in use, and when in the holes are practically invisible.

Picture with floor plug in.

Picture of plug removed:

Picture of table stored in pantry:

Picture of table set up for use:

Heres everything needed, the legs are available in five length's, 15", 25 1/2", 27 1/2", 29 1/2", and 31 1/2". Should offer plenty of options to find the perfect height. The 15" ones would be perfect for use if you wanted to use the table as a coffee table, and switch to the taller legs when you wanted to make it into a dining table... that way you'd only need to store two legs, and not a whole table top.The floor base recepticle in mine is installed under the carpet, I believe they also routered a circle in the flooring so it could be installed flush with the floor, and not just screwed onto the top of it, as I cannot feel a difference in the flooring around the hole.

table mount:
http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/sequoia-table-leg-base-system-black-powder-coat-aluminum-table-base/57503 (black finish)
http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/surfit-table-leg-base-system-table-base/57505 (silver finish)

floor base mount:

table legs:

Interestingly, they now sell a premade snap in plug  for the floor base.
I reserve the right to reject your reality and substitute my own...


Thanks for the info on the table. I do like the idea of having the option of two differents heights for the table. I've got a carpenter friend that said he can make me any size table I want and he has done the laminate overlays as well.


Laminate overlays are surprisingly easy.  I did all my own (table, counter top, all cupboard, drawer and door facings, even the stove and refrigerator panels) and it was the first time I ever tried it and I didn't even look at a Lowe's tutorial on it! 
1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


Nice updates. I too love craigslist. thats where i got my beauty!!
my question/comment is I diddnt see it in your post, but do you have a picture of the new wood around the window? on first page of thread. i noticedyou put new stuff on bottom and top, but not around the window/sides..I got the old stuff off and waiting for the weekend to replace the wood on side of rv with door and window, So thought i would ask. i dont really want to have to take the window out.if possible??


I have more pictures on the 2nd page that covered the window openings. I did take the windows out. The framing for the window sandwiches everything together so I didn't really see away around it. I suppose you could do some kind of trim to hide the edges if you chose to not pull the windows. Seemed like more trouble than it was worth and I wanted to reseal the windows anyway.

Hope that answered your question.


Just a little update......

Started working on the interior a little bit. I was debating on pulling out the lower cabinets and putting in a different layout with some standard lower cabinets and countertops. After several weeks of measuring and planning I decided that was just too much effort for little gain. Last weekend I put the original cabinets back together because they had to come out to remove the old furnace. Still need to buy some new 10" drawer slides and pick up some new hinges and door pulls to spruce it up a little for starters and see how it goes. I have been considering adding some wood trim to the cabinet doors to give them the "shaker" style look instead of the flat panel. Planning to use one of the donor rigs cabinet doors as a test mule and see how that looks before going ahead.

Got the stove modifications to the original countertop about wrapped up by using some 3/4" aluminum trim for the edges and some oak board to fill the gap in the rear. Should look pretty decent when finished. Tonight started planning the building of the microwave cabinet over the stove. I have to buy a new 22" stainless range hood and remove the original one as it puts the microwave cabinet too close to the burners IMO.

Looking at some flooring at Lowes and Menards tommorow to get some ideas. I like the Allure vinyl floating floor from what I have read online but need to take a look at it in person. Wifey wants something in a tile look so that is the plan there.

I'll get some pics up as the work progresses.


I just installed 600' of that Allure Vinyl flooring in my grand parents house.....pretty neat stuff to work with...seems very durible...only 1/8" thick....easy on transitions...the only part I didn't really care for was having to make all your cuts with a paper knife...we all know what happens if the knife slips when making a cut!!!!!!!!!!!!! I highly recommend the product
Never get crap happy with a slap happy pappy



Got a chance to finish up most of the microwave cabinet today. Still have a little stain matching on the ends and such. I used some salvaged oak shelving from our house bathroom remodel. The pictures are not the best as the sun was shining in pretty good.

This is how I filled in the gap behind the oven on the countertop. Used some more of the salvaged oak. The side pieces are the 3/4" aluminum channel that fit perfectly around the edge of the countertop to complete the transition.

Still need to install a 22" stainless hood to finish the area off. The tape is there to mark off where that will be going.

Here is what it used to look like. I am no carpenter but it is an improvement.


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


Thanks! Plugging away one day at a time.


I think most are familiar with the dark paneling that was used in most of the RV's in the 1970's. While I did not mind it so much my wife cannot stand the dark closed in feeling it creates. The existing paneling is not seperating but does have a lot of surface damage and screws holes from years of use and missing parts here and there. With that said here is what I am working on now.

What everything is covered with.

Here is what we are going to. It is a 1/8" paneling sold at Menards in a pattern similar to what is used in todays RV's. The paneling is an American Pacific product and the color is called Sahara. They also have another called Leather that I liked but it is a little darker. I might use some of that in the bath or bedroom.


This is just being installed with paneling nails and under the window frames. I didn't want to glue this on in case someone wanted to bring back the original paneling in the future(I am weird that way). It is very easy to work with and all the cuts were made with a utility knife and straight edge. There is matching seam tape to blend in where any seams end up.

I haven't decided if I will cover the corner caps with matching seam tape or go to a wood corner trim.

Here is where I am as I need to buy another sheet of paneling to finish the front. I really like how the light paneling makes the original upper cabinets stand out. It all just blended before.


I forgot to mention that with the light non wood paneling we have decided to go with a vinyl wood plank flooring in a darker color to match the original cabinets.

For a little flair my wife picked out this backsplash. It is not installed just taped up for now. It is a plastic product that can either be glued or installed with double sided tape. I think a little trimming in the corner will get me by instead of buying another piece. The stainless hood I am ordering will come down and cover the top edge.


WOW! That's coming along nicely. Very rich looking. Your wife has excellent taste. :)ThmbUp


I absolutely LOVE that splashback!  Looks pretty cool! What is that material?
Captain of the Ground Ship "Aluminum Goose"
28' Holiday Rambler Imperial 28