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Old 07-29-2010, 09:03 AM   #1
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Question Opinions wanted about possible 1973 Brave purchase

I have been looking for a classic Winnebago brave 18-20 foot and I found one within an hour of me. It appears to be a d-18 model with the bathroom across the rear, which is exactly what I was looking for.

1973 Winnebago "Minnie Winnie" - Classic!

I talked to the owner today and he said it needs carb work and the roof leaks around the AC. He said it runs and drives but it definitely needs work. I have heard that the roof leak is common in these older winnies with AC because of the weight of the air conditioner on the wood roof.

I was wondering what you guys think of this winnie. I don't want to get in too deep as I do have a limited budget but I do plan on doing the work myself. I already want to refinish the interior anyway so I could strip it down to the floor and reinforce/replace the wood in the roof if anything has been damaged due to leakage. My brother and I want to rebuild/modify/update it as a project and we are both pretty handy and mechanically inclined guys.

Just seeing what the general consensus is about these old winnies and fixing them up on a budget.

Thanks for the help and input!
Chef
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Old 07-29-2010, 02:00 PM   #2
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As long as you plan to use it yourself, and dont mind the value being near zero if you sell it,,I say it might make an ok weekend rv. Just dont forget your duct tape, bailing wire and tools when you take it out.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:22 PM   #3
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thats not a minnie, had a 74 brave the roof leaks by the AC because maybe 2 reasons bad seal and/or the roof is sagging under the weight of the unit, winnebago fix for sag was a cross brace to strengthen the roof. probably a dodge 318 engine mine ran very strong. Good luck
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:01 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies guys.

I realize it is not a mini. They were class c's weren't they? It does have a dodge 318 and I have heard a lot of good things about them. Do you know if the automatic 3 speed is long-lasting as well?

What exactly would you guys check before buying something like this? I mean obviously EVERYTHING but what would be a dealbreaker if it didn't work?

I plan on asking about the following:

Tire condition- How old? Dry rot?
Engine condition- He says it needs carb work, not sure what that entails. What else is wrong with it or has gone wrong with it?
Transmission condition- Does it shift well? Any issues?
Rust/body problems- Any rusted places needing more than sanding and paint? Any rotted wood in the roof or floor?
Fresh waters system condition- pressure? Pump works? No leaks?
Black/grey water system- No leaks? Everything works?
Stove/oven/Hot water heater/Fridge- All work as they should?

Even after he gives me details about all of this I will still take it to a mechanic or inspection station and see what they think about it. I don't want to get into a money pit any more than I have to. I realize it is not going to be free but I don't want to spend thousands of dollars on this thing just to have fun with it.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:39 PM   #5
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you have to either nurse every little problem as it crops up...
(and never leave a 100 mile radius of home)
or dive in all the way and do the frame up restoration.

I don't see any other choices (and this is as true of old cars or motorcycles etc).

as to cost...
it is gonna be a major bundle of dough either way
but the piecemeal approach will end up costing more and being less "satisfying"
This is especially so if you want to do a "stock" rebuild

as to that "free" labor
If you value your weekend hours the same as an employer/spouse would for OT...
(and I truly think you have to on a LOT of the work that will be needed)
then the economics are just insane to even start

But if you have the space to do a proper rebuild and the skills/tools/resources...
go for it!

Have a good time with it
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:53 PM   #6
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First off, I'm right in New Castle so I can check it out for ya. I have a 74 Indian. Now I would be surprised if this unit had a 318. I thought they came with 413 or 440. And yes it would have the 3 speed auto. As for the zero value or doing a frame up, I'm not sure what you all mean. I would say that you are looking @ a serious project for the roof leak. I have a new rubber roof on my unit that I bought it that way. The repair shop told me that the roof would cost about 8000 if I had to replace it. So becareful about what your getting into. I am told that water is the worst enemy for MH. It travels and stays wet until it gets air to dry. We have had lots of heavy rain within the last month and a half so be ready to replace some walls and maybe some of the floor. The carb isn't a biggie either. As for the LP system, I'm sure it has the 30 ib bottle set up which is no longer legal. Filling stations will not fill them. So you will either have to upgrade to an on board tank set up or replace the tanks with updated ones as well as the lines to the regulator. If you walk in it and the floor feels spongy you will need to replace it. Check the fuel tanks. Should have two and they are metal. I just replaced both of mine with one poly tank. The one tank was repaired two years ago and rioted out again. I still need to do my floor but other then that she starts right up and purrrs. It has only 54000 on the 440 with headers and duels. Oh which reminds me. You will not know about the water system. It has a steel tank with a compressor pump up system. Old set up. The gray and black tanks are separate and will not run through each other. Not a bad set up but the tanks are small. If you need tires your looking about 1200 for all 6. Start with the front if you replace two and move them to the rear as you replace them. You always want your two best up front. There isn't much that can rust on the unit. Mostly the exhaust or brake lines. Check them out and if you see heavy rust you will want to think about replacing them. Another thing to check for is the dog house. This is the cover over the motor. A lot of times this thing is cracked or broken and will allow fumes in the cabin. Check the floor around he toilet. If it's real soft you have a leak there too. Look @ your walls up by the roof. If you see the panel peeling or cracking they you have some issues with it from water. Push on the walls around the ceiling. If you get this thing, plan on changing all the fluids. Tranny, rear, engine, and coolant. Then you'll know. When you change it the color of the fluid will also tell you it's own story. That another time though. Keep us posted...
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:02 PM   #7
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Awesome! I'd appreciate that a lot actually. I was thinking about driving down on Sunday if I could get something set up. Do you think you could check it out for me and let me know what you think? It would save me a trip.

I am just going off the specs I found on winnebago's website about the 1973 braves.

Here: Product Information: 1973

According to that it would have a 318 chevy and a 32 gallon fuel tank (single?)
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:12 PM   #8
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Yes go ahead and set up the time. I am free Sunday. Also, send me a PM of any questions you would like me to ask and what you would want me to look over...
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:23 PM   #9
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Thumbs up yup im in the same boat chefsp0t... to build or not to ...build...

hmm.. 0_0 driving a classic winnebago down the road is the shizzle
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