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Andy,

I enjoy going to your website and can see that you have put a lot of effort into it. It is a great resource for people that are interested in vintage motor homes, weather they own one or are thinking of restoring one or just love the history.

I don't know if are aware but I am the owner of two places of business, Soapstone Valley Equipment is a truck and equipment repair shop, with myself and three mechanics since 1994, and next door Classic Motorcars of Ellington, where we have a show room with 20 - 25 antique cars for sale, we also offer repair service and parts for old cars and trucks.
www.oldantiquecars.com

The reason I tell you all this is because after being in the truck and antique car repair bussniess for 35 years, I have a few thoughts I would like to share with people who are thinking of restoring a vintage motor home.

I'm sure you have seen other web sites or blogs about Travcos. Some have done wonderful jobs and inspire the rest of us. Others seem to jump into a total restoration project without sitting down first and counting the cost. I have seen this many times when it comes to old cars.

I tell people the most expensive car (or in this case motor home) is the one you can get for free.

The real cost of a restoration is staggering.

People start with good intensions, tow home an old Travco and rip out the interior, try to get it running, after a while reality sinks in, the list starts getting longer and longer, rust issues, fluid leaks, wood rot, glass, electrical, paint, brakes, tires, exhaust, interior, etc. and all they wanted to do is take a trip in a cool old motor home. Sadly some get frustrated and give up.

I really admire those who stick with it and end up with beautiful rigs even if at a great cost.

I would encourage wannabees to consider buying a vintage coach that has had most of the work done, this has proved over and over to be the most cost effective way to enjoy the hobby.

Good running, driving Travco can be bought for $5,000 - $7500 and is far less than the cost of a restoration.

We that have old vehicles know that there is always things that need attention or find that even a good unit is a continuous work in progress. Or better said, we get to use out rigs and are always tinkering with them too.

It is my hope that someone reading this might give it some thought and that more people would be able to enjoy this great hobby.

Thanks Arlo Hoffman


Archive

Shaggy Needs Love

On July Fourth, I drove Shaggy to a fireworks display way out in the country.  The trip required seven miles of really rough road.  I also had to drive that seven miles on back.  When we finally got to smooth road, I noticed that my brake pedal was going down way too far.
We stopped at a gas station to get some brake fluid.  I noticed that there was something hanging down behind the drivers seat.  My battery box had finally rusted all the way out.  I must admit that since I have been working on my 320, Shaggy has been neglected.  The brake problem turned out to be a brake line on the upper wheel cylinder on the right rear.  I had bent it too much when I did the brakes several years ago.  It finally cracked.  If you own a Travco of this vintage, you will know that there is not a lot of room to get to the brake lines because they are so close to the springs.  I removed the backing plates when I rebuilt the brakes.  I got some help installing the new brake line.  It sure went easier with one person on the front and another person on the rear of the wheel when installing the new brake line. 

The next thing, I had to do was fix that rusted out battery box.

Battery Box Repair
The battery box just fell out.  The battery cables held the battery in place.  I used some bungee cords to hold it in place on the way home. I must admit, if I was performing the routine maintenance like I should, I would have found the problem before I took Shaggy down that rough road.  This was also the first time I traveled without a toolbox.  If I had some tools, I would have removed the battery for the ride home.   
Battery Box Repair
I started the repair process by removing all of the rusted parts.

Battery Box Repair
The box is removed.  The preparation is started.
Battery Box Repair

Luckily, The shelves are still in good shape.  I clean them up for a new shelf.

Battery Box Repair
Welding in additional support.
Battery Box Repair
Looks Better.

Battery Box RepairBattery Box Repair

A little paint and some additional angle to install the door.

Battery Box Repair
I install my battery.  I also put the brake breather in there.  I did that when I restored Shaggy to get the filter out of the inside of the coach.

Battery Box Repair
It took three weeks because of the heat and my laziness.  It sure does look a lot better.

 
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