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Open Roads Forum  >  Class C Motorhomes  >  Class C

 > New to me 1979 Dodge Fireball

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gfinch463

Michigan

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Posted: 09/27/20 05:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So, I recently acquired (free) the above described vehicle. It runs (-ish), Nothing I can't take care of mechanically.

I plan on gutting the interior, as it sat with a roof leak for a quite a while.

I have been lookin all over, and I'm having trouble finding any kind of schematics for the "RV" portion of the rig. I have been through a bajillion forums (Although not many here, yet).
I guess any tips, leads, recommendations, or sage advice is what I'm looking for.

Thank you in advance!!

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 09/27/20 05:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grandson of my neighbor picked up a 1978 Fireball. His is on a Dodge B300 chassis with a 400 stage 1 engine.
His has an odd water heater, refer was from Japan
He is planning on a compact refer
Not sure what he is going to do with water heater. Capped gas line for now.
Same with furnace.
No converter, but has a mounted hardwired battery charger.
Have not checked out stove.
He plans on electric heater or small bottle type heater.


Bud
USAF Retired
Pace Arrow

2003 Chev Ice Road Tracker


DrewE

Vermont

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Posted: 09/27/20 05:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Precise schematics may very well not exist.

Most RVs have pretty similar and generally reasonably straightforward wiring and plumbing systems, with only a few variants in places. Generic information should be sufficient to get you on the right track, and from there it's "just" tracing wires to see what goes where.

Briefly, you have two basically distinct electrical systems in the house part (besides the vehicle chassis electrical system): a 12V DC system, and a 120V AC system. The two meet at the converter, a sort of built-in battery charger and 12V power supply for use when on shore power. The 12V system powers the lights, ceiling vent fans, furnace, water heater controls (if it's not a pilot ignition model), fridge controls (if applicable), water pump, etc. The 120 V AC system powers the air conditioner, the AC heating element for the fridge, and the convenience outlets, the microwave if you have one, and maybe a few other odds and ends.

If you're gutting it, probably the best plan is to rip out the old wiring and install new. Some of the components may be worth salvaging and reusing (appliances in particular). The converter, if original, is only worth saving if you need something to keep a door from closing or a boat from drifting away.





bobndot

USA

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Posted: 09/27/20 06:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DrewE wrote:

Precise schematics may very well not exist.

Most RVs have pretty similar and generally reasonably straightforward wiring and plumbing systems, with only a few variants in places. Generic information should be sufficient to get you on the right track, and from there it's "just" tracing wires to see what goes where.

Briefly, you have two basically distinct electrical systems in the house part (besides the vehicle chassis electrical system): a 12V DC system, and a 120V AC system. The two meet at the converter, a sort of built-in battery charger and 12V power supply for use when on shore power. The 12V system powers the lights, ceiling vent fans, furnace, water heater controls (if it's not a pilot ignition model), fridge controls (if applicable), water pump, etc. The 120 V AC system powers the air conditioner, the AC heating element for the fridge, and the convenience outlets, the microwave if you have one, and maybe a few other odds and ends.

If you're gutting it, probably the best plan is to rip out the old wiring and install new. Some of the components may be worth salvaging and reusing (appliances in particular). The converter, if original, is only worth saving if you need something to keep a door from closing or a boat from drifting away.


x2, absolutely ! Make it a better than new 1979 [emoticon]

look into a Truma hot water system , see if that appeals to your needs.
Maybe some solar to support a 12v compressor style fridge so you do not have to be level all the time.
Design it to support an interior Lithium battery bank so you can keep them at room temp. during cold weather.

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 09/27/20 06:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Batteries on neighbor kid's rig is in a compartment similar to a truck campers. Has room for two 12 volt or six volt batteries.

Matt_Colie

Southeast Michigan

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Posted: 09/27/20 06:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gfinch,

I am not sure whether to say congratulations or condolences. You think you can get it running, and that is good.

It also needs to stop and cool and suck fuel. Rubber stuff doesn't last nearly as long as the everything else. Plan on replacing the cooling hoses, the flexible brake lines (if one of those breaks, it could be a very bad day) and the fuel lines. Given the age of the vehicle, the coolant has lost all its corrosion inhibitors and the system needs to be flushed. The brake fluid has absorbed enough water to lower the boiling point. The fuel lines were never ready to what passes as motor fuel these days.

So, dump the cooling system and replace all the rubber. You will be dumping all the brake fluid when you replace all the flexible lines. The rubber fuel lines will go porous and cause you no end of grief, but removing them is usually easy as they may just come off in your hand. Use only Barrier grade hose as replacement.

And you just read that and said Oh 5H1T!!, but not to worry. If you do all that yourself A: you will learn a lot about the coach and B: it will probably be the best 1000$ you could pour into this project. (You didn't really think it was going to be cheaper than that did you?)

Oh yeah, the tires are probably toast to. Try to find the date codes.
If an over age tire goes out on the highway, it is guaranteed to do more dollars worth of damage than the cost of a tire. (Providing you survive the experience.)

As to the above, you are not likely to find any diagrams for plumbing or electrics. Just map it yourself and take lots of notes. You will need them.

Does this character know the subject or is he blowing smoke?
Look at the picture in the sigfile. That is our 1973 beauty and she only has 177K on her and I could take her to California tomorrow if I had any reason to go there. As it is, we will be doing the 300+ miles to the Dark Sky Park by Machinaw City next week.

I did once have a 79 D300 carrying a Cayo Motorvator for a while, but I scored Chaumière and she takes good care of us.

Matt


Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.


gfinch463

Michigan

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Posted: 09/28/20 03:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow! Thanks for all of the quick replies!

The flushing and brake stuff I was figuring on.

She actually runs fairly well, I just need to clean the fuel supply and pumps. Right now she only runs on a squeeze bottle![emoticon]

The vehicle was mobile about 5-6 years ago. The tires are definitely shot. I have read that I need to seee what size rims I have, and possibly switch them to a more common size when I upgrade the tires.

I was afraid of the lack of schematics, but I work on some electrical heavy trucks already, so I guess I'll be winging it.

Having read some stuff I found here, I was thinking I might be able to fit some Lithium Deep cycles where the generator should go, and put enough automotive solar panels up top to make more than enough to keep them charged. That will take a bit more engineering and science than I have done as yet.
I think the furnace and stove may be toast.
Can Ikea **** be used for cupboarding and such, or is there a better route to go?

Also, Dark Sky is awesome, and about 300 miles from me, as well.[emoticon]

Thanks, again for all the help!

gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 09/28/20 06:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Before you dump a bunch of time/money into your Fireball, check the roof and repair any leaks. (Even a tarp will do temporarily)
Then look for rot in the walls and floor. A small leak can do a lot of damage to an RV if not repaired fairly quickly.

Keep us updated on your progress.

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 09/28/20 07:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would start by checking the fuel lines. That old of rig they could be rotten.
Neighbor kid's has a in-line fuel filter under the passenger door area. 5/16 barb connections.

Chum lee

Albuquerque, NM

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Posted: 09/28/20 01:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You should be able to find a Dodge Factory Service Manual (used online) which will cover most of the chassis portion (including wiring) of the motorhome. For the coach side, you may as well be mining for unobtainium. What you see is what you get. Most replacement appliances for the coach are "kind of" universal fit so you will need some carpentry skills/tools to trim the rough edges and "make" them fit. Just be sure (in advance) they are close in size, voltage, venting, plumbing, etc. to what you currently have. (or what was once there) In short, don't try to make a double wide residential refrigerator fit into the space of a college dorm style icebox.

Chum lee

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