Alex and I have our RV and it has been a fun road so far! We have learned a lot so far about RV remodels, lessons to be learned when you buy a 1983 RV and how to renovate an RV. 🙂
We bought our RV on Ebay, so Alex flew to Idaho to pick it up. When we were researching RV’s and deciding what type to get, it was most important to us that we purchased an RV that had the proper engine and mechanical features to get us where we needed to be. We wanted it to run, be strong, and last as long as possible. I don’t know very much about mechanics, but Alex does, so I knew I could trust him to do the research and find us the perfect RV. We did pretty well with this but did come along some unexpected things. With some mechanical work, we should be just fine!
For all of you mechanics out there or for anyone who is looking for the same qualities as we were, this is the RV we ended up with!
1983 Chevy Jamboree
6.2 Liter Diesel
Automatic- we really wanted a manual, but through some research, we learned that if the automatic transmission goes out it’s actually pretty easy to replace with a manual.
Dually Rear Tires
I was extremely excited for the RV! When Alex was gone I was trying so hard to wait patiently for my future home to arrive in the driveway! I really was not very patient, but getting more anxious and a little nervous. Alex’s trip home was not exactly an easy one!
I could not wait to start ripping out wallpaper, taking down curtains, and giving it a fresh paint job!
The RV’s first trip home resulted in more emergency repairs that anticipated, as well as finding more broken things that expected. Thankfully Alex made it home safely!
If you decide to take the Ebay route in buying an RV or buying a 1980’s RV my advice is be prepared that it might be more broken than you are expecting. A 1983 RV was bound to have problems, but we were so excited that we overlooked much of that and just went for it. This totally worked! But…….being mentally prepared could have helped us out a lot.
On Alex’s way home he encountered….
1. Buying 7 new tires
2. Fixing the alternator belt twice
3. Leaking coolant
4. Broken gas gauge
5. Cold nights without blankets or pillows
6. Useless windshield wipers
7. Bad brakes, only one side worked
8. No tail lights
9. Rusted out propane tank (we were told this could explode…ummmm what?!)
10. The RV also has a maximum speed of 60 mph.
So as you can see we encountered a lot! When Alex got home he was done with the RV and wanted nothing to do with it for a couple days. Of course, this was a little disappointing for me, since I had been so excited! Thankfully after a couple days, Alex changed his mind and we still have our RV (I was honestly worried we wouldn’t keep it!). In fact, we started remodeling immediately!
This is what the RV looked like when we got it. It had a lovely odor of the 80’s, bold upholstery, surprisingly good storage, wallpaper to match the upholstery, new-ish carpet, and ants who also made this RV their home. 🙂 It was very quirky and had a lot of character! But just ask Alex….I love things with character!!!
Oh and the wood paneling….lots of wood paneling! There were also two sections with vinyl covered padding on them. That is what is directly behind the front seats and there is also a section by the microwave. I think the purpose was so if you hit your head it didn’t hurt….. It seemed like one of those odd interior design statements of the 80’s.
Also, 80’s RV’s were definitely not designed for cute Instagram photos….. haha. There is nothing I can do about the constant tones of yellow and brown in all of my early RV photos. But it is very true to what the RV looked like!
Since these early days, we have remodeled a lot and have some big plans! The dreams and goals for this RV are to make it feel much cleaner, simple, white, modern and have some free hippy vibes.
The first thing we did was take out the lights, plan a new lighting system, and start painting. Most of the RV has cheap wood paneling or fake wood of some kind. We just used a little sand paper to scuff it up, wiped it down and started rolling! All of the walls, closets, and storage cabinets are white. This has opened it up a ton and the RV looks 10 times better!
A new paint job does wonder!! This RV looks so much nicer and cleaner since I started painting it. Everything is white except for the accents. The bottom kitchen cupboards are blue and then other places will add accents of color.
One of our biggest goals in this RV is to use sustainable and reclaimed materials wherever we can! Our flooring is going to be cork and we are working on materials for the countertops. If you have any sustainable suggestions, we would love to hear them!
We knew that a portion of the wall behind the driver’s seat once had a water leak. The leak was fixed, but the wall was not, so we had to take that part of it out and replace it. As Alex pulled the wall off we realized that there was a lot more damage than we thought! The whole wall had to come out. Turned out this is where the ants had been living! While I was painting there were little ants all over….we were really glad we finally figured out where they came from! So then our next dilemma was what do we do with these ants?! As cruelty-free vegans, we could not justify spraying them or to set ant traps. So we sucked them up with a vacuum cleaner and set them free outside! I think those were the luckiest ants 🙂
When we ripped this wall out we also made another realization. The smell of the 80’s is actually old rotting wood paneling! Oh my god, we laugh when we figured this out..haha! Once we took both walls out it smelled a lot fresher!
The insulation job that we found behind the walls was lacking quite a bit of insulation…so we stuffed all the holes with spray foam and then cut it to be flush with the wall. Although this is definitely not a professional fix, it worked! Frankly, that’s all that matters!
We weren’t able to find the same material as the original wall to replace it with, so we settled for masonite. Masonite was the right thickness and weight for what we needed, but we were warned that if it gets wet it will basically turn into wet cardboard… The goal of replacing it is not to have it get wet again, so we are going to water proof it a little bit and cross that road when we come to it!This is where our RV stand at the moment! The walls are almost ready, Alex is fixing the brakes as I write, and I’m going to finish painting the walls this weekend!
This is where our RV stand at the moment! The walls are almost ready, Alex is fixing the brakes as I write, and I’m going to finish painting the walls this weekend!
Our RV is coming along really well! We have certainly found a new interest of ours and realized we make a really good remodeling team! Our skills, talents, and interests mesh together perfectly making us a jack of all trades! Please keep following as we get deeper into the renovations! I will post more details about what has been fixed and what we have learned.
Please keep following along as we get deeper into the renovations! I will post more details about what has been fixed and what we have learned.
P.S. We picked a move in date….or month….August! Our lease will be up, so we are moving in! EEEEEE! I’m excited!!
Like our Instagram for more updates! @plantifuljourney