Dodge Frame

1974 Travco 220

1974 Travco 220 restored and modernized


James,

 

I love your site and have taken a lot of inspiration from it on my own build.  I would like to get some attention because it's for sale now so could you post this on your site?  I would really appreciate it!It's finally time to sell our 1974 Dodge Travco 220.  Over the last 12 months we have done a complete restoration inside and out and also have toured all over the West in it.  This is the 220 model which means it is 22 feet long so it's very easy to drive and it's not intimidating at all.  22 feet is my favorite length because you can park in normal parking spots (just barely) but it's still roomy to live in.

  This also has the upgraded 440 engine so it has lots of power.  The top speed I have ever made it to is 83 MPH but it easily cruises at 65.  I love restoring classic motorhomes, this is my 9th and best result ever.  Through this entire build I have always been impressed with the extremely high quality that Travco put into their coaches.  They used real solid wood for their cabinetry, the fiberglass shell is very thick and sturdy, and the whole coach reminds me of an airplane in the way it was built.  Other motorhomes that I have worked on use lots of pressed board and plastic but not the Travco, it's all real wood and metal. I have either refurbished or replaced nearly every piece of this coach so I think I will just sum up the restoration so you can really understand what you are looking at.  First off I found this Travco out in Idaho after searching the whole nation for the perfect starting point.  It was really clean had already been restored once before back in the early 90's.  The couple who owned it had taken great care of it but it was very dated so we bought it and drove it 14 hours back to Fort Collins.  The first thing I did was buy a whole roll of rubber window gasket and fix any water leaks that I could find.  Once it was water tight then I took out all the carpet, wall panels, fixtures, curtains, upholstery, and pretty much everything else.  Once the demolition was complete the whole thing was pretty empty and I was very pleased with the structural integrity, everything was solid!  The resurrection began with sanding every inch of the cabinetry, then I washed and primed everything with an oil primer so that it would completely seal the wood.  I wanted the best quality interior finish so I used an airless sprayer to paint a high quality latex paint.  The paint I went with had to be extremely durable because a motorhome is such a tight space that you tend to bump the walls with camping gear and luggage and I didn't want it to scratch. 

 All of the door clasps had to be refurbished so I dismantled and cleaned all of them then painted each one with a doorknob paint then re-installed them back on the cabinet doors.  All of the wall panels needed to be replaced so I bought all new wood and used the old panels as templates.  I bought a short pile Berber carpet to cover the wall panels because RV's can be noisy driving down the road and anything I can do to absorb sound is very helpful.  I re-installed the panels and trimmed everything with aluminum to make it light and extremely strong so it never come apart from all the bumps and vibrations that are caused from driving.  All of the screws that hold up the ceiling where tarnished so I replaced each of them with larger stainless screw and stainless finish washer.  I actually bought over 400 stainless screws and replaced every old rusted screw I came across.  The next big expensive project was the upholstery, it was really ugly so I went to the industrial fabric store and told them I needed the best looking most durable fabric that they had.  I picked a light grey tweed that is designed for modern office furniture then I brought everything to a custom upholstery shop and we redesigned everything so that it was modern, simple and elegant.  While I was waiting for the upholstery the flooring I had ordered arrived.  It was very important to me that the flooring was flexible and waterproof because an RV will naturally twist and flex as it drives and a wood floor will eventually crack or buckle.  It's common for a RV to develop a water leak over the winter and I did not want that to ruin the floor so I decided on a rubber composite floating floor and it turned out really nice.  To finish off the floor I installed a waterproof quarter round with a light wood grain.  For the appliances I first removed the furnace and threw it away because it had a safety recall.  I installed a brand new Suburban NT30-SP which is a very nice efficient unit that puts out 30,000 BTU's of heat.  As an added bonus it's completely automatic so you don't ever need to manually light a pilot light.  The fridge and freezer are automatic as well, you just need to push the power button forget it. 

 The kitchen faucet needed replaced as well as many of the fittings in the fresh water system.  The fresh water tank was replaced so there is no mold or funk in the water.  The septic tank had begun to crack from age so I sanded and cleaned the tank and rebuilt it out of fiberglass now it's completely sealed and much more durable that it ever was new.  The original air conditioning unit works great so I dismantled it and serviced what I could then painted it to match the interior and re-installed it.  I sewed all new curtains by dismantling 3 sets of designer curtains and re-sewing them to fit the Travco windows.  In the kitchen I really wanted a nice back splash but using tile would be too heavy and I didn't want it to fall down so I hand cut hundreds of cedar slats and fit each one to the back splash, to finish it I made a light whitewash glaze that I painted on the wood.  All of the lenses on the lights are new and every light works.  I built a little "mud room" area right as you step into the coach with the industrial rubber that you would use in a horse trailer and trimmed it all in aluminum for durability and a clean finish.  When the interior was finished I moved my attention to the exterior which was cream and orange so I removed all the trim and spent several full days prepping the whole outside for a new paint job.  I decided to use industrial grade two part paints for durability so I went to the tractor supply store and they showed me the paint they use on excavation equipment which seemed to be a very durable choice.  I'm very satisfied with the quality of the paint even though I'm not a professional painter. 

 Finally I polished all the trim and re-installed it with fresh stainless hardware.  The Travco emblems where missing when I bought the coach so I had to look up what they looked like originally online then visit a water-jet cutting facility and have them make me brand new emblems. Mechanically I have done lots of work as well.  First I removed the gas tank and completely cleaned it because 42 years of fuel can leave a nasty mess in the bottom of a 50 gallon gas tank.  Then I replaced several sections of perished fuel lines, fuel filter, and did a full carburetor rebuild returning everything back to factory specification and adjustments.  Then I did a revamp of the ignition system by testing each component and replacing anything that did not meet factory Ohm readings.  Next I checked the entire brake system and found that the rear brakes needed attention so I did a full brake rebuild including rear drums, slave cylinders, shoes, springs, adjusters, everything.  In 1974 Travco introduced front disc brakes which made this model much safer on the road, these front brakes are still in excellent shape.  I needed to remove the shafts to service the rear brakes and noticed that the rear differential had its original oil so I serviced that as well.

  I was very happy to see that the backlash specs are still well within factory tolerances so all I had to do was redo the seal and fill the differential with an industrial quality full synthetic fluid.  The differential should now last the foreseeable life of the coach.  I have also replaced many rubber hoses that have perished over time.If you have every done any type of restoration you know that there is no end to what you can do but I can confidently say that my Travco is reliable, comfortable, and beautiful.  Anybody who buys this can drive out of my driveway and head straight for Maine.  The one thing you need to be ready for is a constant stream of people asking you about your exceptional classic coach.

Blake,  970-817-0332


Blake Law


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