Renovating an old RV


I'm not an RVr - yet. However, my girlfriend has an old RV in her yard. It is a Fireball, and the cab says Sportsman.

The problem: About three years ago her son took the engine out to rework it. It is now in parts in the garage. We would like to get the think going again.

I figure it needs an engine, tires, a check out of transmission and brakes and it might be pretty good (all of the amenities seem to be OK).

Can anyone advise me: Would it be easier to have an expert reassemble and install the engine? Short block, long block? Tow it to a yard and have a proper garage get the essentials (motor/brakes/etc.) up to snuff?

I'm not qualified to do any of this on my own. So it's really a question of cost and convenience and I'm not looking to squeeze every sheckle, just do what's reasonable.


Renovating an old RV

If you take it to an expert it will cost you a arm and leg. I would try to find a friend who knows how to do this work and pay him to do it. You might be better off selling it "as is" and buying another one. Sometimes you get in to these projects and end up way over your head in costs. Thats my two cents worth. Good Luck whatever you do.

C Nash

Senior Member
Renovating an old RV

What year and engine and have you checked out all appliances, fridge, ac, heat, plumbing etc.? If you cannot do most of the work yourself or have a mechanic that will do it on the side I agree with Turnip. It probably would cost more than its worth :(
Renovating an old RV

Heck, I don't know how things are at home, but sounds like if the son took it out to overhaul it, you could see if he would help you rebuild it and make a family project out of it.

The other options are find a friend thats a mechanic and solicit his help and maybe but a good used engine or long block.

Other than that I whole heartedly agree with the guys, plant some dasieys on it and call it a flower pot.

Have a nice day.
Renovating an old RV

This sounds like a class B or C built on an old Dodge chassis. The biggest questions are if the structure and running gear warrent the investment.If the basic structure is not sound, it will be a grand waste of time and money. You will probably never be able to sell it for what you put into it. This is like remodling an old house, you can get cought up in improvements that you would like, but don't really need and send the project way over budget. Probably the cheapest way to take care of the mechanical parts, especially if its a class b, would be to find a "donor" van with the same components and swap them over. As for the house systems, there are RV scrap yards that can supply good used obsolete appliances.
The up side to doing a project like this is that you can have the exact combination of ammenities and decor tht you want. If you can do most of the work yourself, this can become a family-building project and the sort of thing you will enjoy for decades to come. If it all has to be hired done, it will be a money pit.
A lot of questions here, but a lot of possabilities, too. As with any elderly RV, you are looking at both an old car and an old house. You have two sets of problems to deal with and only ou can determine if it looks like a project worth taking on.
Renovating an old RV

It sounds like you have a class B or C motorhome built on an older Dodge chassis. Probably the cheapest way to get it going would be to buy a used engine. The cheapest way to get one, often is to buy a whole vehicle that will no longer pass inspection but runs well (look around, they are plentiful) and swap it in. This will also give you a spare transmision and other mechalical components in case you need them. Once the project vehicle is up and running, send what's left of the parts supply vehicle to a junk yard.
The nice thing about doing it this way is you get to see how it should look before taking the parts wreck apart. (a video documentry of the process is worth its weight in gold when you start to reassemble things)
If you can do it on a reasonable budget, you can have a great family-building project.
Renovating an old RV


I have checked and I believe it is a class C and a moderately small one at that. As near as I can tell, the company last made these in 1992.

There are family issues that keep it from becoming a project w the son. So, anything that is done by myself, will require the hiring of an expert of some kind.

About INSPECTION. What is this? Is it simply a safety thing? You know engine, brakes, shocks,etc. Or, does it also include the functioning of the amenities such as gas for the oven and the sanitation system? Can you drive the thing and camp in it even w lousy amenities if you don't use them, the vehicle is just a camper shell on wheels w a lot of room for the grandkid and dog to move around?

Thanks folks