1978 Chinook Concourse - $13,900 OBO
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COLLECTORS ITEM! Perfect for someone who wants a unique and charming vintage Chinook RV. Selling this rare gem. I haven’t seen another one of this condition and configuration, so those who know what they’re looking for should be pleased. The wife and I are refocusing our longterm goals. With a growing family, we are now working on our next step, purchasing a long-term home for our family. I would love to keep this a part of the family but our financial goals require us to liquidate as much as we can and spend the next couple years in savings mode.
We lived out of this for a summer full-time and it was a great #vanlife rig. With a few small modifications, this would be a perfect setup as an off-grid, full-time RV living setup. Originally, we were looking for the more common Toyota Chinook, built on the old Toyota pickups. However, my wife stumbled across this rig one day and I was ecstatic! I didn't know that these existed, and the extra room and size over the Toyota, as well as the stronger chassis and tow-friendly setup made this a no-brainer. Plus it just looks so damn cool.
This is a fully-loaded showroom floor model, and as such, has all the upgraded features that were available on these Chinooks. I've got a binder of all the original documents, receipts, manuals, marketing materials, etc from the dealer when this was bought! Only a few were made, and among those, only a few have remained in decent condition, and among those, only a couple had these features. My point being that this is an incredibly rare find that you aren't likely to find again in this condition. This is very close to OEM configuration, and we wanted to keep it that way because I felt it represented the best parts of the era. It's a class B+, bigger than a class B, but not quite a "motorhome" and is considered an 18-footer. I believe the overall length is around 26 feet.
Now keep in mind, it is a 40 year old truly vintage RV/vehicle, and has small issues here and there and can't be expected to drive like a modern car. One thing I learned quickly is how to take care of an old RV. I learned a lot! Upside is the Dodge B300 and 360 V8 are very easy to work on even for a novice, and parts are plentiful and cheap. You can find everything you'd ever need for the mechanicals of this Dodge over the counter at an auto parts store, which I found to bring great peace of mind when traveling.
- 1978 Dodge Sportsman B300 (later known as Ram Van) with the carbureted Dodge 360ci V8. This is a classic motor and transmission, that literally any shade tree mechanic with half a brain could work on. Parts galore and cheap, easy repairs. Also, tons of aftermarket mods available.
- Only 85k miles, runs and pulls like a champ. Transmission runs smooth.
- New batteries. 1-year old Optima redtop starter battery with manual disconnect (to prevent drain when parked) and a brand new 100ah deep cycle AGM coach battery to provide ample power storage for all the cabin electronics. AGM means no leaking, terminal corrosion, fumes, etc!
- Chinook fiberglass construction and build quality. Seriously, this thing still has another 40 years left in it with the proper care!
- 16” tire and wheel conversion. These older RV’s commonly had a 16.5” wheel/tire that is almost impossible to come by now. They also were more dangerous as the wheels didn’t have the lip to keep the tire on the wheel in the event of a blowout. It’s also a bigger tire size than stock, which means the revolutions per minute are lower, resulting in less transmission work at highway speeds. Big improvement. Replacing all 7 tires and wheels is a huge expense that you don’t have to worry about now!
- Tires are in good shape. Front tires still have a lot of tread. Rear tires are probably about halfway through tread life. Rear tires are Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac’s, a really nice all-terrain tire for more traction on and off road.
- New starter, brakes, power steering supply hose and batteries. Thats all I've had to do with it. It's been very reliable during the time I've had it.
- FIAMMA awning. It can be a little fiddly locking in and out but is in excellent condition and is a huge sturdy awning. FIAMMA makes quality awnings and has a lot of parts availability and support.
- Big propane tank located underneath provided propane for us for weeks on end. Powers the fridge, oven, burners, water heater, etc.
- Water heater, water pump, sink, etc are all in working condition. No leaks or loss of pressure. New pex tubing between pump and tank.
- Brand new pull down sink faucet with water saving features. Double sink with cutting board/cover for one side.
- 4 burner stove and oven. Stove cover provides extra counter space. Has overhead fan hood and light. Next to it is a working smoke and Carbon monoxide sensor.
- Onan/Cummins generator. Lots of parts and support, reliable genes. Very rare to find these Chinooks with a genny. As mentioned, this was a showroom floor model, and included the genset for AC power which also runs the,
- Rooftop AC unit. Works great and blows cold. The genset runs off the gas tank, and the AC/heater make this livable as a boondocking setup pretty much year round.
- Thermostat controlled heater. Never had to use it, but a nice feature to keep things comfortable in colder weather.
- Cabover area has a window. Not all models had a window there, it was an upgrade option. Brings in more light and feeling of space.
- Freshly updated interior. We painted the interior and tried to keep everything as close to stock as possible while also modernizing and brightening it up a bit. The Chinook's are famous for their HUGE light-bringing windows, and we wanted to take advantage of it. It's a much lighter and more airy living space than when we first got it.
- Full size dometic fridge/freezer. This is a great upgrade for full time RV’ers. Its a three way, so will run on AC, DC, or Propane. Really nice improvement over the small RV-sized fridge. Fully plumbed and sealed.
- Backup camera, small TV/DVD player combo in front and back. AV splitter cable in cabinet overhead to plug in any external video source.
- Almost all LED lights throughout the interior and exterior lighting. Saves a ton of battery drain when boon docking.
- Bathroom shower and toilet, overhead van, grey and black water tanks. Also added a wind-directional exhaust so it keeps the tank ventilating away from the campsite and downwind.
- Added removable walnut shelves to closet for extra clothing storage
- Brand new Bestop spare tire cover
- New exhaust pipe. The old one was dented and restricting exhaust airflow so I had a shop cut the old section and weld new pipe in.
- Replaced the old “doghouse” engine cover with one from a newer Ram Van, which has cupholders, a flip out table, and a bunch of storage, as well as carpeted sides. A nice improvement over the old one.
- Aftermarket Pioneer radio that is wired into 6x9 speakers in the cabin area, so you can use it as an audio source for your movies.
- Previous owner said the carburetor was tuned and serviced so it shouldn’t need any servicing anytime soon.
- Replaced front driver and passenger seats. Pulled from a similar-era ford motorhome, they’re quite comfortable and can adjust as well as rotate.
- Working air conditioning. I never used but it works and blows cold. The front has vent windows and little feet vents you can slide open to get outside air, so I always loved using those to keep cool (I like the wind blowing in my hair, its part of the experience for me, haha)
- New carpet in front driving cabin area
- Comes with exterior privacy cover for front windows and exterior screens for the side windows (original accessories)
- Nice, working double blinds, provides full privacy.
- Big overhead cabinets provide lots of storage. New hardware. Added little custom turning wood blocks to lock them shut tight for extra security. Nothing will ever fall out while driving with these.
- No leaks, but could probably use a re-sealing of all the windows and such in the near future. I did use a lap sealant around all the rooftop components (bathroom vents, AC, etc) so the roof is good to go.
- No live water connection. It’s plumbed and 99% ready to go for city water, but the last 6 inches of piping and a tee need to be added in. Very easy job, I just never did it because I didn’t need it. I always just filled and used the water tank.
- The couches could use a re-upholstering. It was something I wanted to do but never felt the urgency to do it. It’s not bad, just a little worn.
- Someone previously sprayed some kind of thin textured lining all over the roof (don’t know why) and its peeling off. I started removing it but it was kind of a pain and the wind and weather was naturally taking it off for me. So I left Mother Nature to finish the job for me haha.
- I just spent $100 for a full inspection from my mechanic and an additional $2k repairing everything mechanically that needed attention to bring this up to an "A" as my mechanic said. This included new power steering pump, all new belts, AC recharge, new polyurethane bushings, a whole new rear end (axle seals, brakes, brake cylinder, etc)
- Missing the divider curtains between the front and rear cabin. I never felt the need for them. When I needed privacy I put on the front window covering (wraps around and covers the front windows)
- Needs new tires. The ones on here work fine and appear to be in good shape but they’re older and past their "expiration date" I chose not to replace them because if someone local buys this they won’t need to replace them if they’re just going up the canyon on the weekends occasionally. And it’s if someone is buying from out of state who plans to drive it a lot or live in it full time, it would be better for me to knock the price off and have them do it so they can be under the warranty since tire shops don’t transfer warranties to new buyers. I called around and a lot of tire makers are doing rebates so you can get a full set in the neighborhood of $1k so I knocked that off my original listing price to cover it.
- Holly Sniper EFI conversion (~$900 kit) bolts right in place of the carburetor and adds a simple wiring harness and strap in place O2 sensor. Very simple installation that adds all the benefits of electronic fuel injection. This was on my shortlist of upgrades - more power, more MPGs, and more reliable start-ups? This would add a lot of driving comfort as well on the highway. A no brainer if you plan to drive it cross country. I never did it cause we were more local and stationary than I expected.
- Solar panels could be easily added to the plentiful space up top. I wanted to add two 50 watt panels up top and run them into a charge controller in the cabin to gain off grid DC power and not have to rely on the generator as much. I already had a portable Renogy suitcase panel however though so I made do with that. It worked great for us for the summer, and we had pretty low power demands, so I never bothered with the install. This would probably cost around $3-400 and is a pretty straightforward job.
- You could reupholster and replace the foam for the couches and really upgrade it to make it more plush as a bed. We had a topper we kept up in the overhead area that we threw on at night.
- Flooring is mismatched (laminate in living area and linoleum in kitchen area) so re-flooring could be a nice visual update!
- The cabover area could be modified to sleep an additional kid or two. These originally had a section that pulled out but mine was missing when I got it, so it’s about half size now. We never used it because the couches both fold into beds and have plenty of sleeping room.
- I wanted to swap out the toilet for a composting toilet to go fully off grid. Additionally, you could convert the black water tank to additional grey water storage. You could also sterilize the tanks and use them for additional water storage. This can be adapted to your needs and demands. A composting toilet would increase your ability to stay off grid for extended periods and is more eco-friendly, and would be a rad upgrade! If I had lived in it full time (more than just 1 summer) I would’ve definitely added this.