Nolan's 76 Chinook
   
 

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Nolan's 1976 Chinook 4X4
Also check out Nolan's 75 78 82 project "Blew" (link is above)
A short story about my 76 Chinook (aka) Brownie. I bought it in 1988 in near junkyard condition, with the intention of just fixing a few things and having a useable little Motorhome, I soon realized (by the time I drove it the 20 miles home) that it was in need of more fixing than what I had imagined, beings I had convinced my wife I knew what I was doing I had to at least make an attempt to make something out of it.

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I started cleaning and tinkering, removing broken pieces, worn out pieces, loose pieces, etc. to get down to a starting point, within 3 days of purchase I had a bare frame sitting in the driveway and Chinook parts scattered everywhere, OK now theres a place to start "ha ha" By this time the wife was starting to give me that look, but HEY, if Iím going to do it I might as well do it right, and if we were going to actually camp, sleep, and travel in this thing I wanted to make sure it was safe, dependable, reliable, and looked half way respectable.
A few trips and many calls to RV parts sources quickly revealed that these old Chinooks are beyond the point of finding parts for so my many needed pieces that I thought would be easy to replace now needed a new strategy to restore it. So strategy became "Iíll just build it the way I see fit and do what I can" To make things more exciting a friend had wrecked his Toyota 4x4 truck, and I got this great idea that maybe I could incorporate some of the pieces into this project, so along with a completely dismantled Chinook I now had a wrecked 4x4 to add to the collection. By now the wife had figured I had totally lost it and was beyond sanity. Told her if she needed me I would be in the garage for the next few years. With the bare Chinook frame as a starting point I cut the frame in half, grafted on the front section of the 4x4 frame, from there the reconstruction process began.

The frame was built, all the suspension was done, many hours of fabricating and building were done to get the older body to fit the new frame, mounts, brake lines, steering, floorboard , inner fender wells, on and on had to be shaped, fitted, modified, and reconstructed to get the end result I was looking for.

Once that was accomplished it was time for the camper body itself, that went pretty easy as for fitting but some work was required to mount it together in a better way than the original design, I wanted it to be tight, leak free, and stay that way for years to come.

 

From there work continued along, bodywork, painting, electrical wiring, plumbing, cabinet building, upholstery, and so forth. Finally almost 2 years exactly from the day I bought it, it rolled out of the garage in a finished state and ready for its maiden voyage.

 

All the work was done by myself with exception of upholstering the rear cushions and front seats, and spraying the paint on the outside of the body. Although it was put on the road in 1990, and has traveled many a mile in 10 western states so far, its far from ever being completely done as every winter when its put away for the season I continue to find new ideas or changes to make to improve its performance, handling, looks, or driving pleasure. Nowadays we donít use it as much as we did for real camping trips, the family outgrew its accommodations and we upgraded to a restored 78 full-size Toyota Motorhome, beings its been such a great part of the family I canít bear the thoughts of getting rid of it even though I have had some nice offers. Over the last 4 years it has seen more summer time cruising and playing with weekend trips and custom car shows around the Northwest, to date it has brought home 8 first place trophies, a best of show award, and a peoples choice award. Considering its just a little Toyota camper my goals have been met, its been safe, reliable, dependable, and looks respectable.

 

Some of the features but not all include,

SUSPENSION

Toyota 4x4 solid axle front and rear

3" front lift, 4" rear lift

full urethane bushings throughout

front and rear sway bars

rear overload springs

rear air shocks

4.88-1 axle ratio

31x10.50-15 tires and custom wheels

DRIVE TRAIN

20R engine, bored, balanced, blueprinted

10.0-1 compression

Comp Cams camshaft

mild port work on head

dual 40mm Mikuni side draft carbs/K&N filters

dual remote oil filters

remote oil cooler

power steering

air conditioning

LCE Tri-Y header

custom 2.5" exhaust system

30# flywheel

centerforce2 clutch assembly

1988 5spd trans/transfer case

custom drive shaft's

re-curved electronic ignition

3 core radiator

130 amp alternator

dual battery system

auxiliary frame mount vacuum tank for brakes

dual fuel pumps, one for backup if needed on the road, pre plumbed and wired

remote battery switch for starter to auxiliary battery

BODY & INTERIOR

custom paint and lettering

tinted windows

custom interior

recaro style front seats with lumbar and air bag adjustment

handmade center console

overhead cab console, houses all fuses, switches, warning lights for rear step, leveling jacks, porch light, driving and fog lights, and 12v outside power jack

custom cabinets and counter tops

full autometer gauges

tachometer

intermittent wipers

electric panel for converter, fuses, warning lights, switches, to monitor battery power, converter charger, refer fan, outside cabinet lights, propane pressure, propane alarm, 12v power plug and cable TV hookup

sink, water tank, with low water warning light

electric water pump

3 way refer

cooktop

furnace

built-in microwave

over cab bed

dual roll out hammocks

all inside and outside compartments are lighted

fold down rear step

custom made rear bumpers

receiver hitch

permanent mounted rear leveling jacks

And you didnít think you could stuff all this in a Chinook did you?

THIS WINTERS UPGRADES

custom made side steps for cab

performance ignition upgrade

power windows

cruise control

power antenna

plus a few other little odds and ends

Hope you enjoy and Thanks for looking

 

Being a car nut I enjoyed the challenge this project turned into, it sparked an interest in the old Toyota Chinooks that has grown to years of research, collecting old paperwork, and history about them, talking with past and present owners, and just digging around for any info I can find about them. It also brought on other projects that are finished, a work in progress, or still in the thinking stage, such as the restored 78 Motorhome, a 78 custom Chinook 4x4 with 22R supercharged engine, a 77 pickup with 22RE fuel injected engine and late model drive train, and another 81 Chinook 4x4 conversion.