Tag Archives: van

Costs of Restoring An Old Class B

White with brown striped 1989 Dodge Class B camper van.
The original paint job. This was an EXACT MATCH to the photo I cut from a magazine and posted on my “Wish Board.” Never discount the power of a Wish Board.

What’s In A Year?  Quite a bit when it’s 2007 and you are looking at a 1989 Class B.  Having owned my share of older cars when I bought them, one even being a previously owned Class B, I knew it was a roll of the dice when it came to price versus future repairs and believing the salesman.

Sage green paint in two tones make for a very nice makeover on the camper.
The result of years of work is a real facelift.


Now that it’s been 10 years ownership and we are getting ready to sell her I had gathered all the auto receipts I could find and put the information in a spreadsheet.  When we purchased the camper we were assured of it’s great running condition and previous care.  We flew from CA to OR and spent the first night on the way home in the new camper waiting for AAA service to help us continue on our way.  Sigh.  He lied.

The Class B is a great choice for a camper as it doubles as an everyday car.  It fits in almost any parking space and there is room to make U-turns at 4-way stop signs.  Backing up is easy and there is plenty of room inside – you can even stand up in them.  Ours has bed, stove and tons of cupboards as well as a trunk area for storage.  A small bathroom and a dinette that doubles as a single bed all make for a comfortable cabin although small.

We chose this as our retirement vehicle for our extended vacation in the future and as my everyday car for work, etc.  So fixing it and restoring it were high priorities and we had plenty of time.  When it came to restoration projects it was important we had plenty of space as well so we were fortunate for long driveways and necessary tools. Due to a disability it took many, many years to bring the camper to its current appearance.  It is at the stage inside where decisions need to be made that would directly affect the owner and thus there are things we have left, such as the dinette, which we had planned on making into an office desk/sitting area.

As for the mechanical issues that took lots of time and money.  The spreadsheet was a real eye-opener.  I have receipts for $11k plus another about $2.5k from the previous owner.  Our goal was to complete the work and any problems before we set out for our very extended trip and we’ve done that the best we can.  We continued to do so even when we knew we were probably going to opt for something bigger after living in it for a month with 2 adults and two 50-pound dogs while looking for a new home after moving across states.  Once snow hit we knew we had to go bigger.

We had time before retirement to complete the project.  In late 2009 disabilities hit which kept the trips to minimum times and close distances.  My use of the car for travel was minimum which kept the mileage low that would have otherwise accrued in the past decade.  We continued to make the repairs because it was our second car and it needed to be reliable.  It was also our weekend or vacation camper.

1989 Class B Repair List Spreadsheet

Because you might be thinking of buying an old van and fixing it up we thought it would be helpful to see the possible road one can embark on when taking on a  journey similar to ours.  I give you below our repair list, note that this is primarily only the mechanical issues and does not list curtain and flooring materials nor paint, sealants, etc.  I did include the fantastic vent, new waterpump and bathroom sink but the remainder is mechanical and I did not keep the upholstery and other receipts.  One last note before I go, those carpet and upholstery repairs required a lot of TIME and SPACE to work on the project.  There remains work to be done.  Remember that if you think you want to take on a similar project.

We will be selling “As Is” with no claims attached or rights of buyer outside of clear emissions report (January 2018) and clean title.  We are waiting for our new tags before we actually list her.


2007: The following is the original information from the seller’s ad:
Xplorer has a legendary reputation for their innovative and high quality construction methods, and this rig was all the envy when it rolled off the line in 1990. Its one-piece raised roof has two layers of fiberglass with structural foam injected in the middle to create an extremely solid and well-insulated unit that will never leak or rattle.
The floorplan makes maximum use of the vehicle’s 19-foot length to pack a full time down bed, bathroom, kitchen and dinette into a rig that its into a regular parking space. The chassis is a Dodge 350 Ram Van, so it’s plenty stout. The motor is the 360 cid V-8 with fuel injection. It has a fresh rebuilt 727 transmission with heavy duty transmission cooler. New tires all around and new ball joints up front. Lots of storage on board, including large basement. New linoleum floor and new ball joints up front. Lots of storage on board, including large basement. New linoleum floor and stainless steel backsplash in the kitchen. New batteries and many other extras. With under 90k miles on her, she’s got lots of years to go. This rig is truly unique, and shows the attention to detail that went into its construction. Besides that, she drives great!!! For two people who love to get away from it all, this rig is awesome! We figure we could last two weeks with provisions without over-stuffing the cupboards. Put your “Egg” in tow and have first class accomodations for two couples or a whole family.
The following receipts for work done were provided by the Oregon seller:
2004: (Van was owned by Vantastic Vans at this time)
Budget Master Rebuild by Transmission Masters, Alburquerque NM ($800.00)
2006 – Owner Peeks: (Oregon)
3/11/2006 New tires spin and balance ($834.36 Les Schwab, Albany, Oregon) $834.36
3/17/2006 Replace valve cover gaskets, replace vacuum lines needed, heater hose replaced, replace steering gear box and Idler arm, Replace upper ball joint, align, front end. (Continental Transmission Albany, OR $1261.04) $1,261.04 83,293
3/24/2006 New M.A.P. Sensor (Continental Transmission, Albany OR $187.52) $187.52 83,477
Totals for receipts provided before Logan ownership: $2,282.92
Current Owner – 2007 through Present:
7/4/2007 Shurflo Pump ($98.95), Table Legs ($29.95) plus misc. parts ($176.68 total Metro RV, Inc. Burbank, CA) $176.68
4/28/2007 Differential, Lube Oil & Filter, Transmission Flush, Smog Certificate and Inspection ($431.85 Alert Auto Repair Saugus, CA) $431.85
5/3/2007 Replace Ignition Coil ($223.88 Itech Auto Repair and Transmission) 223/88
5/15/2007 New water pump and belts ($397.47 Burbank Radiator Service Burbank CA) $397.47 88610
6/10/07 Starting System Check, Replace Ignition Coil, Tuneup, Replace Timing Belt,chain and gears, replace water pump gaskets ($2123.69 Jack Ellis Glendale Dodge) $2,123.69 89011
7/5/2007 2 new U-joints ($199.98 Big O Tires Jackson, CA) $199.98 89488
9/25/2007 2 Wheel Cyl plus misc. brake work ($620.59 Jack Ellis Glendale Dodge) $620.59 93406
August 2007 – All Repairs From Here On Were Done By Current Owner (In Colorado)
8/8/2007 Oil Change ($39.05 Grease Monkey Boulder CO) $39.05 92227
3/9/2009 Set Timing, Check Codes and Coolant Temp Sensor ($365.74 The Auto Shop Lakewood, CO) $365.74 97363
7/15/2011 New Car Battery ($69.95 Sears Lakewood) $69.95
9/3/2011 New Michelin LTX M/S tires, 60k miles, Lifetime Spin and repairs ($866.78 Discount Tire Lakewood CO) $866.78 104,219
12/15/2011 Brake System Inspection, Front Brake Service with Ceramic Disc Brake Pad Set, W/MFG Gull Warranty, Ceramic brake service, front labor, F Severe Duty Pads, replace F Disc Brake Caliper Hardware or Bushings, F Disc Brake Rotor, Rear Break Service w/ltd lifetime Warranty disc pads or brake shoes, Drum Brake combo kit, flush brake system, fluid ($675.91 Brakes Plus Lakewood, CO) $675.91 104,687
Note: Turned Over first time and 100,000 to below mileages
2/18/2012 Remove and Replace Alternator Assembly ($158.67 PepBoys, Wheatridge, CO) $158.67 4,794
5/24/2012 Service and Oil change (40.71 Grease Monkey Lakewood) $40.71 5,041
3/13/2013 Marine Battery 24DC-DL Duralast ($129.40 AutoZone Lakewood) $120.37
4/8/2013 R & R front and rear U-joints and 2 new U joints ($241.04 The Auto Shop Lakewood) $241.04 5,719
4/26/2013 New Transmission Mount ($526.72 The Auto Shop Lakewood) $526.72 5,835
2014 –
8/19/2014 Replace Front Windshield w/new bracket and weatherseal (313 Safelite AutoGlass Lakewood) $313.00
3/6/2015 Install Quick Connect & Isolater, R&R Injectors, Fuel Pressure Rec, ISC Motor, Transmission Service, Coolant Temp Sensor and relay, oil change, etc. ($1,966.50 The Auto Shop Lakewood CO) $1,966.50 5,915
4/21/2015 Throttle POS. Sensor ($102.33 The Auto Shop Lakewood CO) $102.33 6,030
6/3/2015 Install Fantastic Vent Fan -Customer Supplied Product – Check Refrigerator, not repairable ($204 Nolan’s RV Denver CO) $204.00
Part: Dual-Speed Bi-Directional 12v RV Ceiling Fan $250.00
Replace Passenger Side Window Motor (302.28 Lakewood Auto Electric) $302.28 8,499
8/19/2017 Oil, filter and fulids. Safety Check. ($45.71 Grease Monkey Lakewood CO() $45.71 8,836
1/19/2018 Transmission Service, fluid, filter and gasket. New Rear Output Yoke, Radiator ($768.45 Advanced Transmission Center Lakewood CO) $768.45 8,854
Totals for repair receipts available and paid by current owner 2007 through present (does not include restoration material such as paint, sealant, carpet, etc.) : $11,007.47
Receipts on file for work done prior to current owner: $2,282.92
Total Receipts On File for repairs: $13,290.39

It might be interesting to note the mileage as the repairs progressed.  I’ll be adding restoration photos in upcoming blogs such as how I got the carpet to fit tight to the wall by painting the edges, how I insulated the engine dog house cover, the making of the screen door, etc.  Ya all come back ya heer?