Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-05-2012, 01:25 AM   #1
Bronze Member
 
Cubey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 41
Default Hello everyone!

I just registered here on the forum and though I would jump right in and introduce myself.

I have a 1978 Dodge B300 Xplorer I bought earlier this year for $1300. It had a transmission rebuild in Feb 2011 to the tune of about $1200-1300 (I have the receipt from it). For some reason, that owner sold it to a local guy not long after for $500. He fell on hard times I guess.

The guy I bought it from presumably lost his license from a DUI *after* he got it... and never even registered it (but admitted to driving it on a trip once). We had to jump through some hoops to get a title only in his name which he then signed over to me since the title he had was signed over to him. But was finally done after a couple of months.

Since then, I have been pouring pretty big bucks into it, getting it road worthy for full timing in. The transmission shifts as smooth as silk but the engine burns oil. I will be putting heavier weight oil then it had put in at it's last oil change in 2011 which was 10w30. It runs good and strong, however.. and has no problems getting up to 70mph with little effort.

I have replaced the tires (and rims due to the old 16.5" side), I took it in for a rear brake job that turned into a rear end rebuild.. which added about $1500 more to the money being put into it after all the parts, first mechanic who ripped me off to the tune of $250 and never finished anything after 3 months.. causing me to have to pay $95 towing and $600 more in labor at another shop.. who completed it in a matter of a day once they were able to start on it (they had a line of other vehicles ahead of mine).

I have also so far replaced all steering components between the pitman arm and the steering knuckles (did that myself). I am in the process of replacing all of the ball joints, control arm bushings and front shocks. I am doing most of that work myself except for the press out/in of the ball joints and bushings, I will be taking it to a shop to have that done. I am also trying to trace down why the brakes are still having poor stopping power, which seems to be tracing to a front caliper I replaced many months back. Either that or a problem with the line someplace.

I also had to put a new starter as it suddenly died a few months after I got it. At least the alternator looks pretty new, as does the battery. *lol*

The leaf springs will be next as well as the rear shocks.. and getting a new spare tire since I only got 4 new tires so far. I will also have the timing chain, timing gear, water pump, and all belts replaced before I hit the road for good measure. Also, I will be getting a tune up (less the parts, I am replacing them myself in the meantime) and seeing if the carburetor needs any fine tuning.

I will have perhaps slightly more than it's worth in it, but considering it's going to be my full time home, I feel it's worth it. So much was totally worn out (tires, ball joints, tie rods, shocks) that it was almost unsafe to drive. I am doing as much of the work myself as I can to save on labor costs which has been a significant help.

Interior wise, I am going to redo all of the fresh water lines with Pex. It seems to currently have Poly B which is a disaster waiting to happen... if it's not already burst someplace. I haven't hooked up water to see. I have the fresh water tank pulled right now so it will be easier to work since most of the junction tees are right there near the water pump and tank. Plus it was storing old, dirty, stale water. I will sanitize the entire system before I use it.

It will also need a new grey water tank, but I will hold off on that since I can get by using campground showers in the meantime. It has a Thetford recirculating toilet so it has it's own holding capacity separate within itself. Any good RV shop can do this along my way traveling.

Sadly, my van has the bench sofa instead of the dinette. I am considering tearing it out and building a permanent dinette there instead since I'd prefer that to a sofa/second bed. If I could figure out how to do a convertible table (the hard part is hanging one side against the wall, I'd build it that way in case I ever wanted or needed an extra bed.

I guess that's it for now!
__________________

__________________
Full timer in a 1978 Dodge B300 Xplorer 228 - My Blog
Cubey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 03:27 AM   #2
Platinum Member
 
Johnny R's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 207
Default Re: Hello everyone!

Welcome to the forum. You've got a lot more energy and time - and skill - than I do. Do you plan to travel much?
__________________

__________________
Johnny R
1990 Dodge Leisure Van - great camping
2006 Goldwing - terrific two-up riding
2011 Malibu LT - wonderful winter wheels
Johnny R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 01:07 PM   #3
Bronze Member
 
Cubey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 41
Default Re: Hello everyone!

Yes. The style of traveling will be interesting however due to my budget and the fact that the van will get about 10-12 hwy if I'm lucky.

While it will be a little bit boring and time consuming, I have realized that since most Wal-Mart stores allow overnight parking and the fact that most stores are only 30-50 miles apart (or less!) that one could simply stop at Walmart in city A, hang around until the next day, drive to city B or C that is 30 or 60 miles away and stop again for the night.

Let's average it to say 50 miles a day I drive before I stop at the next Wal-Mart. It will only take 10 days to go 500 miles and I wouldn't have spent any on RV parks/camping, only on gas between Walmart stores and a few more gallons to drive around the towns a bit maybe if I feel like it. Maybe I could find an RV park every 3rd night that takes Passport America for a 1/2 off rate so I can recharge my batteries, empty my tanks, etc.

I'm on SSDI so I get 50% off at federal campgrounds but they are often far away from the major highway, so you have to factor in how much gas it takes to get there and come back to the highway. If the campground is 15-20 miles from the highway, it's going to cost 30-40 miles in gas at about 10-12 mpg. So possibly $15 in gas plus discounted camping fees of about $10-15. I may as well have driven on further to the next Wal-Mart before I do that, unless I want to stop for a few days to sight see the nature area and relax.. in which case it would be worth it.

It would require having something to pass the time is all. These days you can't hardly NOT find a place with free WIFI. Between stores that offer free WIFI and public libraries (plus the availability of cellular service) it's easy to keep a connection to the internet handy. Plus there's good old fashion books to pass the time.

And surely the town has something interesting to see and do.. a museum or something.. to pass a few hours.

One thing I forgot to mention before is I would like to add solar panels to my van to help with energy replenishment Sure, my van has a generator but it's loud and consumes gasoline. For running the roof air conditioner or water heater, it would have to be run. For emergency situations or long term stays off the grid it might be useful as well. I could probably get away with running it at a truck stop since it's not much louder than the semis that tend to be left running all night. It's a good reliable backup power source in any case.

My original intention was to travel out west first to CA, OR, WA but now I am thinking about going north to Chicago. I found out there is an awesome science museum up there I'd love to see. Plus I'm sure there's lots more awesome things to see up there. At destinations like that, I would have to find an affordable weekly or monthly RV park to stay at in the city so I can have a home base to stay parked at.

From there I could head out west though it would add quite a few miles on to the drive to get to CA.

I have a Yamaha Vino 125 scooter I am considering taking with me for daily driving at my destinations. Since my van is already not very stealthy, I don't see how a motorcycle carrier on the back or pulling a small trailer (not sure which I want to do yet) will hurt much. If I could find a legal place to park it all day and take the scooter off for riding around the own, it would be nice.

But I'm not 100% sold on taking a big, heavy, cumbersome scooter to worry about. but at least it would give me good speed and traveling distance over vs a bicycle, which I wouldn't mind having along as well. I think I may take it along and if I find it to be too much trouble, I'll try to sell it on the local Craigslist when I get to a major city destination.
__________________
Full timer in a 1978 Dodge B300 Xplorer 228 - My Blog
Cubey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 02:06 PM   #4
Platinum Member
 
markopolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 7,820
Default Re: Hello everyone!

Welcome to the forum Cubey. By my quick calculations you might be into this for $4000 when you're done and you'll have already replaced so much. That's really not too much money spent for a reliable vehicle. And you'll know it inside and out.

Sounds to me like you have have really thought this adventure through. I hope you get lots of enjoyment from it
__________________
Two bikes on sliding cargo box: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/m...icture206.html & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications: https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...vana-5864.html
markopolo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 02:19 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 792
Default Re: Hello everyone!

Welcome from one newB to another.We all got class Bs so we wouldn't need an extra vehicle but if you like scooter driving then have fun.If you need a place near Chicago then Indiana Dunes may be within striking distance.Don't forget the Field Museum also when in Chicago.
stanw909 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 02:52 PM   #6
Bronze Member
 
Cubey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 41
Default Re: Hello everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Welcome to the forum Cubey. By my quick calculations you might be into this for $4000 when you're done and you'll have already replaced so much. That's really not too much money spent for a reliable vehicle. And you'll know it inside and out.

Sounds to me like you have have really thought this adventure through. I hope you get lots of enjoyment from it
I have been keeping my receipts but haven't added it up lately. it's going to be more like $5500-6500 though. More than I had intended to spend but that rear end crap drive the cost WAY up high through the roof but I had no choice after that mechanic tore into it claiming it needed so many parts replaced and so I ordered them online. After 3 months he never finished anything and I had to pay someone else to do it.

If you wonder why I paid him before he finished the job, I felt sorry for him... and I felt it put me in a bind. The electric co showed up one day at his house & shop (next door to each other) to cut off the power from lack of payment while I was there talking to him. The guy has a wife and 4 kids (3 are under the age of 8, one is still in diapers). So I paid him then so he could pay the electric co guys so right then and there so he wouldn't get his electric cut off. I also figured how would he be able to work on my van if he has no electric to power his air compressor.

But anyhow...

A quick run down of major things so far:

$1300 - buying the van
$1000 - rear brake shoes, drums, cylinders, bearings, seals, ring gear & pinion, spindle nut sets
$850 - labor time and a half/towing on the rear end/rear brakes
$800 - 4 new Dunlop tires w/ road hazard from Sears
$600 - front end steering and suspension parts (brake pads, shocks, ball joints, tie rods, center link, drag link, control arm bushings)

That right there is $4550. It still needs another tire, it will need an alignment once I get the front end all finished next week, will need the timing set/water pump replaced (About $400 labor, there is a lot to it that i don't want to attempt), timing checked, etc. And that list above is just an estimate!

And that's not factoring in all the other parts I have bought like belts, hoses, better dog house engine cover, replacement rims, this, that and the other...

If I had it to do over again. I guess I *might* have been better off with a newer rig that needed less... but, Class B's are few and far between. The fact that it has a new transmission is the biggest advantage. And too, all of the parts I am putting on it are high quality stuff. I am not using the $18 ball joints, $20 brake pads/shoes, etc. I am ordering the parts online which is considerable savings as well.

The lower ball joints I am waiting on right now (ordered the wrong ones way back in January and can't send them back now. ugh) were $50/each at oreilly. Online, they were $30/each from Rockauto. That's a $40 savings right there! The cost of shipping doesn't matter really, since that amount would have been paid in local sales tax anyway.

I find that an awful lot of private parties selling vehicles of any kind tend to be selling them when they need just about everything replaced, especially when they are budget priced. So a $6,500 early 1990's Class B might have needed everything my $1,300 1978 Class B needed which would have drove the cost up to about $12,000. I think it may be especially true of motorhomes since they get neglected even more than cars do since most people don't use them for daily drivers.
__________________
Full timer in a 1978 Dodge B300 Xplorer 228 - My Blog
Cubey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #7
Bronze Member
 
Cubey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 41
Default Re: Hello everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanw909
Welcome from one newB to another.We all got class Bs so we wouldn't need an extra vehicle but if you like scooter driving then have fun.If you need a place near Chicago then Indiana Dunes may be within striking distance.Don't forget the Field Museum also when in Chicago.
Thanks for the tip on the Dunes camprhound! I wonder how busy it is except for tent campers since there's no electric. It's closer, far cheaper and more convenient than the Illinois State Beach campground. But no reservations so you might get left high and dry showing up hoping to stay there.

I got a Class B for a few reasons.

I had a nice 1999 Ford F150 4.6L V8 stepside and a 1967 Shasta travel trailer but I didn't like the idea of having a 35ft long setup. I had bought the trailer back in 2006 and lived in it for 6 months in 2008 at a local RV park. I got the truck some time after that. I had a Ford E150 when I got the trailer. Anyhow... a Class B can get away with overnight parking a LOT easier than a pickup pulling a trailer. It also is 100% self contained unlike a trailer. You have to get out of the truck and walk to the trailer to get inside. Not so great in bad weather. A lot of hassle IMO. Plus I would have had 2 more tires to worry about on the trailer. Backing up a big trailer is also a lot worse than backing up a Class B.

Since my truck had a stepside bed, trying to find a truck camper to fit would have been hard... and it stands out more than a Class B. And again, I'd have to go outside to get in the camper. 1/2 ton trucks aren't the best for long term use for truck campers anyway. A 3/4 or 1 ton is better suited.

Most Class C's are huge monstrosities that seem to take up a quarter acre of space compared to a Class B. Not as bad as the massive Class A's but still. Plus they have dually rear ends... 2 more tires to worry about like on a trailer.. but are harder to get at to check pressure and fill with air.

I tried camping a few times in the Ford E150 I previously mentioned but it lacked a high top. It only got about 14-16mpg on the highway (depending on if I was doing 60 or 70 on the interstate) which in my opinion isn't very good for a straight up passenger vehicle without any RV amenities in it. I also hated the lack of head room. I felt boxed in. My Xplorer has a dropped floor in a portion of it so I can fully stand up at the side entrance and at the sink and stove so it's not as bad, and without having as much of a high top. It has a slight high top that is almost virtually unnoticeable. I didn't even realize it until about a week or two ago that it was even any higher than a normal Dodge van probably is.

I had intended to only take a bicycle along with the van but after I sold the scooters I had (a Honda 50cc, no title.. but it's legal in my state to not register a 50cc for on-road use) and a Honda 250cc trike (which would have required a 6ft wide trailer to haul), I started having BAD scooter withdrawls within a day or two. I found this Yamaha on Craigslist for a pretty low price so I snatched it up for hauling with me. it gets about 90 mpg and goes up to about 55mph. In between stops, it will be a huge offset for the van's low mpg. I ended up barely riding it this summer which is ironic since I had intended to.
__________________
Full timer in a 1978 Dodge B300 Xplorer 228 - My Blog
Cubey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2012, 08:29 AM   #8
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Posts: 5
Default Re: Hello everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubey
Yes. The style of traveling will be interesting however due to my budget and the fact that the van will get about 10-12 hwy if I'm lucky.

While it will be a little bit boring and time consuming, I have realized that since most Wal-Mart stores allow overnight parking and the fact that most stores are only 30-50 miles apart (or less!) that one could simply stop at Walmart in city A, hang around until the next day, drive to city B or C that is 30 or 60 miles away and stop again for the night.

Let's average it to say 50 miles a day I drive before I stop at the next Wal-Mart. It will only take 10 days to go 500 miles and I wouldn't have spent any on RV parks/camping, only on gas between Walmart stores and a few more gallons to drive around the towns a bit maybe if I feel like it. Maybe I could find an RV park every 3rd night that takes Passport America for a 1/2 off rate so I can recharge my batteries, empty my tanks, etc.

I'm on SSDI so I get 50% off at federal campgrounds but they are often far away from the major highway, so you have to factor in how much gas it takes to get there and come back to the highway. If the campground is 15-20 miles from the highway, it's going to cost 30-40 miles in gas at about 10-12 mpg. So possibly $15 in gas plus discounted camping fees of about $10-15. I may as well have driven on further to the next Wal-Mart before I do that, unless I want to stop for a few days to sight see the nature area and relax.. in which case it would be worth it.

It would require having something to pass the time is all. These days you can't hardly NOT find a place with free WIFI. Between stores that offer free WIFI and public libraries (plus the availability of cellular service) it's easy to keep a connection to the internet handy. Plus there's good old fashion books to pass the time.

And surely the town has something interesting to see and do.. a museum or something.. to pass a few hours.

One thing I forgot to mention before is I would like to add solar panels to my van to help with energy replenishment Sure, my van has a generator but it's loud and consumes gasoline. For running the roof air conditioner or water heater, it would have to be run. For emergency situations or long term stays off the grid it might be useful as well. I could probably get away with running it at a truck stop since it's not much louder than the semis that tend to be left running all night. It's a good reliable backup power source in any case.

My original intention was to travel out west first to CA, OR, WA but now I am thinking about going north to Chicago. I found out there is an awesome science museum up there I'd love to see. Plus I'm sure there's lots more awesome things to see up there. At destinations like that, I would have to find an affordable weekly or monthly RV park to stay at in the city so I can have a home base to stay parked at.

From there I could head out west though it would add quite a few miles on to the drive to get to CA.

I have a Yamaha Vino 125 scooter I am considering taking with me for daily driving at my destinations. Since my van is already not very stealthy, I don't see how a motorcycle carrier on the back or pulling a small trailer (not sure which I want to do yet) will hurt much. If I could find a legal place to park it all day and take the scooter off for riding around the own, it would be nice.

But I'm not 100% sold on taking a big, heavy, cumbersome scooter to worry about. but at least it would give me good speed and traveling distance over vs a bicycle, which I wouldn't mind having along as well. I think I may take it along and if I find it to be too much trouble, I'll try to sell it on the local Craigslist when I get to a major city destination.
Sure sounds like a beginning of a wonderful plan! I would go with a motorcycle carrier rather than the trailer, seems much less hassle if you really want to take a scooter. Otherwise, between the Class B and a bike, I think you can go everywhere, easy and cheap.
Armchair RVer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2012, 12:04 AM   #9
Bronze Member
 
Cubey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 41
Default Re: Hello everyone!

Finally got around to adding the costs to my spreadsheet. I have about $5400 in the van right now. Still need 1 more tire, alignment, timing set/water pump installed, grey water tank and some other minor things. It's going to be a bit over $6000 by the time I'm done. That rear end crap is what shot the cost through the roof by $1000 I wasn't intending to have to spend. But now it should NEVER need the rear end done ever again. It should outlast the rest of the van.
__________________
Full timer in a 1978 Dodge B300 Xplorer 228 - My Blog
Cubey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2017, 10:14 AM   #10
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6
Default

Well it's been about 5 years since your last post on this thread...Hows the van treating ya Cubey?
I have a 1983 Dodge Xplorer 228 and have yet to officially start my adventure. I'd love to know what your thoughts are. Are you loving it? Having any problems? Any tips for a newb?
daboognish88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2017, 03:35 PM   #11
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,127
Default

He's got a blog link there. I clicked on it and he's just left Quartzite. It appears that he no long has the van and is living in his car with a big dog.

I did a quick look and it appears that he sold the van in 2015 because the low mileage made it to expensive for him to keep using it.
__________________

__________________
Mumkin
2019 Roadtrek Simplicity SRT (almost a Zion)
2015 Roadtrek 170
2011 LTV Libero
2004 GWV Classic Supreme
mumkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 08:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×