Avco M-3000-S

Travco Vans, Superior Motorhomes...basically anything Dodge based.
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Travco Model: Avco M-3000-S

Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by Harry Johnson » Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:04 am

Howdy all-
I recently acquired a 1979 Avco M-3000. It's been modified with a 5.9L Cummins 12v, Allison transmission, and Dana 80 rear end (4 wheel disc brakes are amazing). While it already had a lot of great work into it, there's still plenty left to do. My wife and I are currently in the process of getting it ready to go camping with our two boys (one 3 years old, only just coming up on one month old).

We also have a jeep rock crawler project that will probably weigh in around 5,500 lbs( total of ~7,000 lbs total with the flatbed), so we needed something that could tow that much weight. It got tested right out of the gate coming home from the previous owner since I drove there solo and needed a way to get my truck back home:

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We're trying to keep everything mechanically sound, but are working to get this project usable asap, so I'm not as concerned with certain aspects of the appearance/trim/little details at the moment. Also a disclaimer: we're not carpenters/painters/woodworking people, so yeah. I'm planning to use this thread as a way to document hilarity that ensues as we try to get this thing back out on the road asap.

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Travco Model: Avco M-3000-S

Re: Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by Harry Johnson » Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:27 am

So here's what I've got to work with so far:
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The Cummins pulls pretty hard and I barely used any fuel after 4 hours on the freeway. (actual mpg numbers coming later as soon as I calibrate the speedo)
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As with any motor swap, lots of other things got modified as well. I was provided with this wiring diagram:
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Also found this while cleaning everything out. I think I might have missed the boat on joining the Avco club :lol: :
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Travco Model: Avco M-3000-S

Re: Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by Harry Johnson » Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:57 am

So on to a to do list before we can start having fun in this thing:
  • Kid car seats are top of the list. Obviously not much thought was given to seat belts in these things, especially not car seats. We need something that will work
  • Towing my truck home, I found the trailer brake connection to the trailer doesn't work (running lights and turn signals do). That was slightly inconvenient with an extra 7,000 lbs behind me, but I was pleasantly surprised how well the motorhome's disc brakes handled it. Nevertheless, I'd rather not do that again.
  • The Onan 6.5NH cranks, but won't turn over. The previous owner claims it was working, and then suddenly stopped(don't they all?:mrgreen:). I'm guessing points and a condenser is a good place to start
  • I noticed my steering box is leaking at the top seal. Also there's tons of slop in the box(shaft has quite a bit of play going in, nothing moves coming out). I'm thinking I want to figure out how to swap in a new box and be done with it.
  • Leaky window seals. I suspect some are leaky, need to further investigate.
  • It would be really awesome, but not mandatory, to get an engine brake on this bad boy to help save brake rotors.
So diving in, we first removed the small wooden dinette that was in place:
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At this point we noticed the old wood paneling was staring to fall apart and crack in places.(potentially due to water damage from a leaky window seal). I didn't want to replace the paneling and my wife did, so we compromised and I started down the path to replace the paneling before we slapped a new dinette in there:
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After that horrible decision, I was committed. So I bought some bead board:
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And traced the old paneling
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And slapped it back in there
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Not sure if I mentioned it, but my wife just had a baby back in mid-june, so most of this stuff I'm doing solo. I had to get creative with holding the cabinets up while screwing them in.
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Now I can finally get to figuring out how to mount our dinette seats to the floor.

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Travco Model: Avco M-3000-S

Re: Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by Harry Johnson » Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:13 am

So yea, we tore the old dinette out and bought a new 36" wide setup from rec pro. It fits with the couch folded into a bed, but there's not a lot of room to walk between the two with that setup. We figure it doesn't matter since the only thing past that are the front seats and we wouldn't have the couch folded out any time we'd need to get up there. (side note- I'm a little weird about internet privacy. I don't mind posting pics of myself, or my wife, but our kids aren't really old enough yet to have a say, so I just keep them out of it if I can).
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These rec pro seats don't have any way to anchor them to the floor, so if I want to make these car seat worthy, I need to figure out how to add car seat/seatbelt brackets and also a way to anchor them to the floor. I drank a bunch of beer and slowly, a plan began to form.
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Using 1/8" x 1 1/4" angle iron, I figured I would make a frame a the bottom of each seat that could both be bolted to the floor and to the seat itself. Then I would make a frame going up to just below the back of the seat cushion with a bar across the top that I could bolt some LATCH-style hoops to(and in the future seat belts). I'd brace the whole thing with another diagonal piece.

I got so excited to test my creation, I didn't think to take a picture of the whole thing before I slid it into the seat to test the fit. I'll do that later if anyone's interested. Here it is installed:
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Dont look too closely at those welds. I'm no artist by any means, but they will hold.

The bathroom door was open yesterday and it appears that my wife has been amusing herself on amazon. I like it.
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So that's where we are at now. Next up I need to figure out how to bolt these seats to something other than plywood in the floor. I have a few plans, but need to get out there tomorrow and take some measurements at some point.

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Re: Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by KB2CRK » Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:16 pm

Great job and a lot of work. we are getting ready to rework the interior of our Travco. Started it once but never finished but still used the old girl. Now that we have no kids left in the house my wife and I are going to set it up for the two of us and the three doggies. I have pictures on here of some of the work that was done but I dont remember if it was in the interior section or the 270 section.

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Re: Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by Harry Johnson » Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:55 am

Still waiting for parts to bolt down the dinette. Got distracted by the door.

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Did some some stuff:
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Done:

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Wasn't on my list, but that's one more potentially leaky window sealed back up.

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Re: Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by Harry Johnson » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:19 am

replaced some busted marker lights with LEDs

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Figured while I had that open, it would also be a good time to install a backup camera since I could run the power through the marker light hole

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I ran into an issue there however. I really wanted the camera on all the time to use as a rear-view mirror while driving(rather than powered off of the backup lights and only turning on when I'm in reverse). I couldn't find a constant power source from the chassis battery that far back, and I'm a lazy man, so there's no way I was going to run one. So I ended up cabling back through our bedroom cabinets to a closet light. I need to add a switch somewhere along the lines so I can easily turn the camera off when not in use, but for now I can just unplug the power inside the cabinet.

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Seems to work
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Went to check the marker lights when it got a littler darker and of course I had a tail light out (@&#^&*! :roll: (back up cam dangling again for re-adjustment)
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Travco Model: Avco M-3000-S

Re: Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by Harry Johnson » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:57 am

Next up was sealing up the side window. It seemed solid enough, but we figured that since we had the wall torn apart and whatnot, we might as well put a new seal in there.

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The rubber trim between the window and the inner wall was falling apart. I looked around to see if I could buy new trim, but apparently that stuff is proprietary to the window, so I decided to try to make my own out of wood trim pieces. Disclaimer. I am definitely NOT a carpenter. :lol:
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I sent the picture to my wife and she replied with "...not shitty" so I'm gonna run with it. I need to go buy some more trim from the the hardware store, but at least I sort of have a game plan for this now.

After that, I had been wanting to tear the dash apart so I could get all our in-dash AC/Heater vents working. All of the ducting was 40 years old and falling apart, so I yanked them all out and ordered new 2 1/2" duct

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While I was in there, I figured now was a good time to do the important stuff like add a 10" subwoofer and amp to the stereo.

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Maybe now I can hear the music over all the cabinet rattling and squeaking while going down the road. :D

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Re: Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by KB2CRK » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:51 pm

to make that widow corner work cut the ends of the pieces at a 22.5 degree angle. 45s and 90s just dont fit right

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Re: Avco M-3000-S

Unread post by Harry Johnson » Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:43 am

KB2CRK wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:51 pm
to make that widow corner work cut the ends of the pieces at a 22.5 degree angle. 45s and 90s just dont fit right
Good call! I need to pick up more of that trim and I'll give it a try.


Meanwhile, the Macs versa track I ordered finally arrived, so I started getting my dinette all locked down:

track mocked up
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Frames for seatbelts in place using these cool little 10M studs that macs sells
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Seats on the frame
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The bolts for the track are about 2 inches too short to make it all the way through the floor and metal c channel I'm going to add between the steel frame ribs. I'm going to see if I can hunt down some longer ones today after work.

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