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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have always like the first generation Winnebago motor homes (not the ugly ones of the early-mid 60's) but the '69-'73 style in general, with my favorite being 1972.

They were quirky, but, IMO very cool styling.

they all had Dodge engines, 318/413/440 etc...

What I would do is build up a strong 500 for truck/RV work, something like 400hp and 600ft-lbs torque.... which from a 500 is easily possible. Swap that in, along with a Turbo 400, and see what can be done about driveshaft and rear end.

After the engine and drivetrain are all done, I would gut out the interior and do it all over, with nice, modern style and stuff. The dash would either stay origanal looking, or be taken out and all new gauges (digital or analog) would be put in)

Then the outside would get painted white, and the origanal gold on the bottem and W-stripe would be painted black, *maybe* re-chrome the exterior extras... grilles, bumpers etc....

So the object would be to have a nice classic motor home, that is pretty quick and can light up the tires, but you can actually use it...

I think if it was geared to turn over around 2,300RPM on the highway at 70mph, and the 500 was built to be high-torque/low RPM, it wouldn't have a problem pushing that thing around, not to mention be pretty darn quick too.... I am thinking maybe 12mpg from something like that?

Just something I was thinking about today, of course it would have to wait until I get my own house and have the time and money and stuff, so hopefully by they they wont be so old/rare that they cost alot, as it seems you can pick one up for about $3,000 today, which really isn't bad.

Check it out:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1972-Winnebago-RV-camper-trailer-motor-home_W0QQitemZ4577201577QQcategoryZ50057QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
 

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Just take the steps to keep that TH400 cool. Motor homes burn out transmissions faster than racecars, because people run them at slow rpms up hills and the torque converter isnt out of its stall range.

Would 600Ft-Lbs bother the TH400 for the long run? Mines made it to 152k just fine with the stock 425, but that is only 320Ft-lbs.
 

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1995 ETC, 75 Deville, Cad500 powered 73 Apollo, 94 Mark VIII
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The GM motorhomes from the 70s would also be a good swap. I know a couple have 500/TH425s (yeah they were FWD.) That Winnebago has got to have the highest coefficient of drag of any vehicle ever. The windshield is like a parachute for crying out loud.
 

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1995 ETC, 75 Deville, Cad500 powered 73 Apollo, 94 Mark VIII
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That's the kind of GM motorhome I was talking about. In fact that's the pic I posted over there most likely :) Got it from a scan someone had up on some website, it was originally from a book about FI and turbo systems I believe.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I know the 70's GM RV would work, but they don't do anything for me, and the FWD factor isn't "cool" in my eyes.

That Winnebago... I dunno, I just really like them, and could see some amazing potential.

The engine is accessed by removing the cover inside, it looks kinda tight, I would if a 500 would fit in there good.

I think a TH400 rebuilt with heavy duty use in mind, and a huge transmission cooler would do fine in that, I mean it is perhaps THE best auto transmission out there.... not counting Allisons and other HD diesel truck trannys.
 

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Putting 500's in these things is pretty common. Practically a bolt in.

I have always thought they were cool motorhomes. Great aerodynamic styling, load levelling suspension, low centre of gravity and great use of space. They were the state of the art when they were being built.

Even the Olds 455 that they used was devoid of emissions equipment, it being classified under HD Emissions. I think it made 270 Gross HP. Which was about 80 more than the 455's used in the contemporary passenger cars.

But, a motor home for me would be a mid to late 60's GMC Scenicruiser with an 8V92TA Detroit Diesel. 500 hp and over 1000 lb ft of torque. Cruise all day at 80 mph and return 10 MPG.

But I do also like those 70's Winnebagos. They were pretty cost effective for their day and the Dodge chassis was up to the task. But, the ones with the smaller engines were pigs. An effort to save gas, but that made them worse because those little 318's and 360's had to work so hard. The 440 was the only way to go with them. But, I do like the idea of the 500. But, you need to spin it fast enough so that coolant circulates properly and like mentioned, the trans fluid keeps cool and the convertor is operating above stall.

I pulled a 27' triler with my '70 Fleetwood for a few years, and the 2.94 gear at the back made the engine work too hard. I had to shift manually and try and keep the engine spinning faster. It made a huge differance in fuel economy. About all I could expect was 55-60 mph, but if I had a lower gear, I'm sure it would have done better.

Mike
 

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Ok, are we missing the bigger point here, that add for that motorhome said it had THE 413, you understand those things go for like 3 grand, just the motor not running, perhaps missing parts. That guy should buy it, sell the 413 and then have recouped money to pay for the motorhome and a good start towards the 500 build.

-The Cadillac Rancher
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thats true, the 413 and 440 are now getting rare, and these Winnebagos have them.

So if the Winnie is a Dodge chassis, how easy is it to swap the Cad 500/GM drivetrain into the Dodge chassis?
 

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I would expect it to be easier than in a normal car. The frame rails are parallel, and have lots of room in there to put big engines. This RB block Dodges were fairly large engines in their own right. It would be a matter of rigging up mounts for the 500 and adapting the THM400 to the driveline.

413 and 440's do go for some serious $$ these days. The Mopar crowd is nuts for what they want for the cars. Selling a basically sound 413 would get some decent money, and make a great S/S clone '62 Dart for someone.

Mike
 
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