My Restoration. 1972 Dodge Travco - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-11-2012, 09:21 PM   #1
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Name: Kenny
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My Restoration. 1972 Dodge Travco

Hey all. I am starting restoration of a 1972 Dodge Travco Motorhome. it is a molded Fiberglass Motorhome. They were very well built and way ahead of thier time in quality and safety. I have three. The one I have choen to start on was actually picked up a few weeks ago for free. I was going to us it for parts but determined it was in better shape rust wise than the one I had planned on restoring. The 1970 Travco I have was bought brand new by my father and has his name engraved on the dash and it's breaking my heart to restore the 1972 but the 1970 sat near the ocean for a few years on long island and the salt air got to her. It needs major reconstruction. Sadly the fiberglass is the best of the three. The third one is a 1975 but it has no driveline and was badly damaged moving it around so it will be a donor. It has disk brakes which was the main reason I wanted it but now I will need the windshields as well for the 1972. The 1972 is pretty ugly at a glance but it has alot of potential. it sat for 20 years and I stuck a battery in it and hooked it up to a feeding tube( a portable gas tank I made out of an outboard motor tank with an electric fuel pump mounted on it.)
It started right up like it was running yesterday and even the brakes worked and the wheels were not locked up...It wants to live...; )
The pass side front looks like it was near a fire or something. the gelcoat is burned and the glass melted. I plan on stripping the gelcoat off the entire unti and painting it. The gelcoat never seemed to hold up on these. IN fact I have never seen a Travco without cracked gelcoat.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:25 PM   #2
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Here is a pick of the first damaged area. I had to remove the floor and generator box to get at it. The floor was water damaged anyway. Someone did a real lousy attempt at fixing it with chicken wire and cloth. I cut the repair out and tapered the hole. I have some smooth plastic that was actually a water shield from the bottom of a travel trailer I cut up for parts. I will use that as a backing after I coat it with wax and start the repair from the inside . I have never done fiberglass so my fingers are crossed. I am going to use mat and SMC resin. I will finish it with Evercoat Vettefill.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:32 PM   #3
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wow, you have a lot on your plate!!
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:33 PM   #4
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One my Dream RVs would be a Travco 32 with a Dodge Cummins 6BT swapped in to replace the gas engine. (all it takes is cubic bux!) but that's about the ONLY mo-ho I'd even consider.

Molded Glass body, easily repairable chassis and with the 6BT (add a bigger turbo and a chip!) and it'd "haul donkey" For a towable - put a Suzuki Sidekick on a bar behind & voila!
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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Thanks for sharing - this looks like a HUGE job and will be neat to follow along.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:52 PM   #6
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A 6bt is on the to do list. There is one on Youtube. I was toying with a 4bt as it would be an easier swap but a 6bt would haul. That with the right allison trans. Yep, on the to do list...They are not that bad to buy. A 12v can be had pretty cheap in a rotted old mid 90's dodge.
The hardest part will be the fiberglass repair. I have done a decent amount of non pro autobody but never messed with fiberglass.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:14 PM   #7
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Yes - and I'm told that the older 12V ones were actually the better engines - but if we're gonna start talking engines & trans and like that we better move this to PMs as this site is about FIBERGLASS, not mechanicals - even though for guys like me - mechanicals are easier to do than glass and interiors and stuff like that
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:20 PM   #8
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Kenny, I take it there's no way to move the good FG body onto the least-rusted frame?
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:34 AM   #9
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Kenny, I take it there's no way to move the good FG body onto the least-rusted frame?
Not easily. Im gonna restore this one first then when its done start cutting the 1970 apart and see if i can replace the steel substructure that connects the fiberglass to the frame. The frame itself is salvagable. Its the runners that connect the body to the frame . They are welded to the frame and then glassed to the body with fiberglass cloth.
I am picking up some supplies today. Gonna try the SMC resin.
I understand there are different types of fiberglass mat. Any ideas on what I should use ?
Being that this repair is on a corner does it need to remin flexible or should I build the backside up with some extra layers or some cloth for added stregnth ?
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:10 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kenny D View Post
A 6bt is on the to do list. There is one on Youtube. I was toying with a 4bt as it would be an easier swap but a 6bt would haul. That with the right allison trans. Yep, on the to do list...They are not that bad to buy. A 12v can be had pretty cheap in a rotted old mid 90's dodge.
The hardest part will be the fiberglass repair. I have done a decent amount of non pro autobody but never messed with fiberglass.
A 4b will cost almost twice as much as a good used 6b.

Have you ever checked government liquidation? Sometimes, they get running take out engines.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:26 AM   #11
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All the time. I am a member of GL.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:51 AM   #12
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You will have to keep us posted on your progress, I would love to see this all done and I'm sure you would too. Man that's a lot of work but will be very unusual when its done. Yes to the Cummins Diesel and Allison tranny.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:53 AM   #13
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Wow. My hat is off to you guys and gals that take on major resto projects. Especially a MH. I would like to someday do a resto on a travel trailer ( FG or Airstream ) because I would not have to deal with all the engine/trans/driveline work.

Kenny, have you considered setting up a blog that you could update/document this project ? That would be fun to follow along. Big project....gonna be awesome when you are done. I always liked the style of that MH.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:02 AM   #14
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I barely know how to use a forum...lol
I wish there was a good travco forum. Maybe they could do a subforum here. There are alot of Travcos still on the road. I have 3 myself. There is no resource speciffically for them other than mytravco which is defunct and travcoorg which the forum is old and useless. Just about Every Travco on the road either has or will need fiberglass/gelcoat work.
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