Friday, September 10, 2021

Parking Brake Mishap

Do not drive with the parking brake on or you too can spend the night camping in a parking lot waiting for a specialty tow truck. The motor is so powerful now it took a few minutes to realize the brake was on! Big thanks to AAA Towing LTD. and AMA - Alberta Motor Association for their kind and prompt assistance, getting us safely home. If your Travco needs a tow get a landoll trailer.

But I am happy to report that Myrtle is back on the road! A big thanks to Fleet Brake for relining the shoes on the internal expanding transmission parking brake. The transmission seal we used was from NAPA part #15620.

Hot tip; dry fit the shoes into the drum with the shoe adjusting sleeve/nut/screw and the anchor shoe guide to ensure they fit. The thickness of the pad must be less than 0.156 einch as per the specs listed in the manual below.  Extra dry tip; when you remove the brake drum from the transmission tail shaft it will spill some transmission fluid (about 2 quarts). Drain some out before hand, or jack up the rear of the motorhome to reduce the spill.

Below are some helpful excerpts from our vintage shop manual that cover the parking brake

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Engine Update

After two years of set backs, Covid, emergencies, parts issues and so on, Myrtle’s engine is nearing completion. We are taking her original 318 Poly to a 408 cubic inch stroked poly. We explored many options before this including Hellephant / Viper / Demon / Magnum crates, restoring a street Hemi and even just a simple rebuild of her current engine. 

Ultimately we decided to save her original, low mileage, strong engine that has served her well for over 50 years. The re-built motor will give more torque and horse power for those mountain roads and is totally bad ass. When the motor was stripped we discovered it was John Deere green! As you can see in the photos  her block has been painted red in line with 1964 poly engines and converted to a vintage 4 barrel Weiand intake manifold. The engine is still being finished - updates to come! 

Anyone can buy a new motorhome but I fell in love with this old girl Myrtle and I wanted to save her heart. We knew this would not be the cheapest and easiest route, but the best adventures are on the road less travelled. 💙

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Engine overhaul!

Last year Myrtle went into Dale Adams Automotive Specialists for a major engine overhaul. The goal is to stroke and bore her original 318 poly engine to a 408. This article gives an idea of the plan: How To Give A 318 Poly Engine More Power – Mopar’s Rodney Dangerfield Part 2 ! Below are two before overhaul pictures. 

This kind of build takes a lot of time to collect and machine the necessary parts (and a good dose of cash). We have brand new forged aluminum pistons from Ross Pistons.

There has been a long wait for the cam core which has delayed the build, but the cam manufacturer finally got them delivered and will soon grind it with our desired poly lobe profile. It also took a while to find someone to rebuild the rockers so they will be suitable for the rest of our rebuild.. This means almost all parts are here and Myrtle is expected to be ready in May! Stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, July 2, 2018

New front wheel cylinders and brake shoes

The wheels are notoriously difficult to remove on the old travcos with the lower fibreglass skirts. It involves: Jacking up on frame and letting suspension sag, on passenger front wheel turn wheels left, repeat the other way on left and lots of wiggling. Also it was jacked up quite a bit but that still doesn’t help with the tight clearance front to back and side to side around the bolts. On ours the driver side is also reverse lugs. It’s a tough removal!

We replaced the front wheel cylinders and brake shoes. The parts were from Napa Canada; wheel cylinders 28720 and 28721 ($55.00 each), and brake shoes TS-33a Proformer ($52.00 a set). Our vintage manual is great help for mechanical work and copies can sometimes be found on Ebay. Some photos of the manual and work below. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

New brake booster

Myrtle's brakes were a bit soft so we embarked on the adventure of replacing her brake booster. Myrtle has a single hydraulic system with one Midland Ross brake booster; #C-462. Refurbished boosters are sold by a few companies. Unfortunately the first one we ordered online was not a match for our booster, as you can see from the photo below, it is smaller than our original one. It is stamped Midland #C-8400-4, and we will be looking to sell this refurbished one as it can not be returned for a refund.

Upon further investigation with our Mopar Parts List manual, the mopar part number (1921313) quoted in the receipt for the smaller booster is actually for a WM300, listed in the book as "Conventional cab - Gasoline Engine 4x4 drive." Motorhomes are all listed as "M" only, and Myrtle is a M375. The Mopar Parts number for a brake booster for a M375 is 2230707. 

Below the photos show the front of the Mopar Parts List manual,  table of contents, Model Specification section, booster cylinder parts information, what a WM300 looks,  and finally and diagram of the brake system. The diagram has reference numbers which them match mopar part numbers in the parts section of the book.



Luckily we were able to connect with a local company in Calgary; Fleet Products/KBR Brakes, who were able to quickly identify the correct replacement and had one in stock! This company has an American counterpart as well; Power Brake Sales. This website was super helpful in trouble shooting and installation: In addition our vintage Dodge Trucks resource book was quite helpful, a few excerpts are below:

The new booster is a Midland Ross C-462, installed, all nicely refurbished and painted. We also found a new booster air cleaner 1/2 inch (part number 2503225).

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Pump Problems

This season we needed to replace two pumps. The first was the fuel pump. There was some difficulty in getting it as the person working at the first place we tried was unable to look anything up with out a part number and insisted they were all electric, even though the mechanical fuel pumps are common on older trucks. Thankfully we found educated staff at the local Auto Value and got a Carter mechanical fuel pump replacement (part number M6866), which we installed ourselves. The pump was inexpensive, under $40.00.

The second pump was the water pump, which we discovered was broken, as we were heading out for our first camping trip of 2016. We apparently left it on for months with an empty tank, thus burning it out. The new one auto shut off. We found a SHURflo brand one (part number: 4008-171-E65) at an RV store on our way, planning to install it once we got set up at the campsite. A warning to others, confirm if your current water pump is wired for AC or DC. Our pump was DC and we bought an AC one. With some extra effort, we were able to make it work as we re-routed AC instead of DC. This pump was unfortunately far more expensive than the fuel pump, coming in at $330.00.

So now Myrtle again reliably pumps both fuel and water!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Mini Myrtle Model

I was lucky to receive this gift, a wonderful, extremely detailed Neo 1:43 resincast model of a 1963 Dodge Travco Motorhome! Description from the website: "The Dodge Travco was in production for nearly twenty years from its launch in the early 1960s and externally changed very little during that time. No date is given for the example modelled but looking at the grille arrangement and photos of the real thing we’d place it in the mid-60s. The rounded shape is very well replicated and through the neatly fitted windows we see plenty of interior detail with a sofa bed behind the driver’s seat, dining area behind the side door, full kitchen and to the rear a fixed bedroom."

If you want to own your very own model check out Grand Prix Models.