Revcon Trailblazer "Watering Hole"

Hellwinger

New member
This thread is intended as a space to share tips and tricks for keeping our beasts on the road, as well as adventures.
 

Hellwinger

New member
Hi all. My nickname is Hellwinger. We can chat about where that came from when we get to know each other better.

Please, feel free to share. The Trailblazer is a unique vehicle with lots of its own peculiarities. I know I need all the help I can get keeping ours roadworthy.

The Spousal Unit and I are the proud second owners of an almost fully operational and often road-worthy 1994 Revcon Trailblazer. In a previous life, until 2002, it was the Phoenix One, of RoadTripAmerica fame. It's been kept going on a budget over the years. Still runs great, and scares the hell out of Jeepsters when rounding a mountain dirt road.

For the Phoenix, it's all fun and games until something breaks! We've repaired, modified and re-engineered brakes, fuel system, running gear, engine & transmission heat management, etc. There is probably much to learn from each other about the care and maintenance of our beasts.

Please enjoy a few photos:

- Hellwinger
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Hellwinger

New member
Actually, we have never seen another Trailblazer on the road. When on the road, we get lots of admiration, lots of "Never seen one of those before!" and "Is that custom?". Have seen a couple of manky ones for sale on the web over the years. Would be very interested in whatever notes about production or contacts there may be out there.

- Hellwinger
 

Hellwinger

New member
Some random tips/tricks that have come up in other discussions:

Sealed the roof by wire-wheeling off the layers of butyl rubber and RTV and stuff and re-sealing all seams and holes and rivets with Dicor 501LSW self-leveling lap sealant. Prepped with mineral spirits. Works great. It is white, I think it might come in colors, it could be paintable. I must say, tho, the reflective difference between a bright white and a colored roof is thermally significant.

The seal between the front fiberglass coach end cap and the stock Ford roof of the cab needs to be flexible. I keep re-sealing mine with a huge thick and ever-growing bead of white silicone sealant (RTV). Aerodynamically, you can see how rain is funneled into that region above the A pillar. Am keen so see other's solutions to this problem.

One of the things I have found that greatly adds to wear and tear, and that is difficult to anticipate, is the relative motion between all the engine, frame, chassis, body, and coach parts. The frame was extended by two feet between the front and middle axle and this has resulted in much greater diagonal flexure, especially in off-road conditions. And there is also vibration to consider. Especially if you find out that you can indeed take a cobblestone road at 45MPH if you deflate the tires! There is a lot to be said for the inertia of 7 tons of fun!

Not being afraid of tight fits, scratchy bushes and low tree branches is a reason we have yet to paint the Phoenix. Also why we don't have an awning. Would like one tho. Need to figure out how to armor against scrape-y tree branches in the stowed position. Am curious to see other's solutions.

- Hellwinger
 
Last edited:

Hellwinger

New member
One of the first things that had to be rebuilt (during a road trip, in a Walmart parking lot), was the gasoline filler necks. As is, they leaked gas fumes into the coach. Note that the fill hoses for the gas tanks cut a corner through the interior coach volume. It is very important all of the relevant seals work 100% . As a backup, I have also built a box around each and filled it with urethane expando-foam. Also, the volume of the isolating box is best vented to the outside, but be sure to use a screen for critters and wasps.

Speaking of which, we have found that a bit of food-grade diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the wheels keeps ants out during storage. And is not toxic to dogs.

And speaking of storage, I keep the gas fresh with a bit of Marvel Mystery Oil.

The original black tank of the Phoenix was inside the coach, under a bench seat. Vibration wore a pin-hole in it with very slow-to-manifest yucky results under the kitchen table. Now a new one is mounted outside and armored against rocks. It has a 25 gal capacity, plenty for boondocking if managed. Also has strategic cleanouts that have not been necessary, but add to peace of mind regarding possible clogs.

- Hellwinger
 

Hellwinger

New member
A question for fellow Revcon owners:

The rear window. Ever open it? The Spousal Unit has speculated that cracking it open would be good for air circulation in the back. Our rig has an office in the back - no ceiling fan and only the two little side slide windows that open to let in air. There are two ceiling fans - one in the shower/head and one in the aisle where the stove is. They really suck - and when widows are opened, lots of fresh air comes in.

Anyhow, the rear window has a hinge on top - it looks like. I've never had the guts to open the two red latches on the inside because the window looks like an emergency escape hatch - and those are typically not designed for repeated use. So I worry about breaking that (really old by now) seal.

And speaking of windows, how does one take apart the side slide windows? There are 5 in our rig. Ours are gunked up a bit. I'd like to disassemble for a thorough cleaning.

I've taken apart the slide windows up in the bed. That was satisfying - and keeping them clean is the trick to keeping them from leaking. Because they are canted out a bit (not the angle they were designed for by the way), they collect more rain that washes down into the little gutter the panes sit in. If that or the weep holes are obstructed, the water overflows to the inside. It's a gravitational maze system, like shingles - there is no positive seal.

Curious to hear of your experiences . . .

At_Silver_Playa.jpg

- Hellwinger
 

Hellwinger

New member
Observation:
Every trip is a shakedown cruise more or less, hopefully less as time and experience go on . . .

BTW when it comes to electricals, do not trust the factory wiring or crimp-on lugs. Many bad crimps, and corroded connections could haunt you. The investment in re-doing the wiring when there is an opportunity that will pay off. Most of the old wires could be OK to re-use, but they are often routed past sharp edges and screw tips and such.

When it comes to coach power, the Phoenix has (3) parallel 100Ah AGMs, and we have never run out of juice. AGMs are superior for this application. They are sealed, don't leak, and can be deep discharged without being killed. The Phoenix's are charged via a Morningstar controller channeling 200W of solar panels mounted on the front fiberglass cap, or the engine alternator, or from shore power when plugged into AC. It all goes into the controller, each input isolated by diodes. The charge controller does not care what is input, as long as it is enough.

But when the AGMs poop out (the Morningstar solar controller gives them lots of charging TLC, so that won't be for years, hopefully) I would like to replace with LiFePO4 or something similar if affordable. Lead is heavy!!

The Phoenix has a shunt starter relay to connect the engine and coach batteries together. Under normal conditions, the two power systems, engine and coach, should be isolated so that the engine starting battery is not inadvertently discharged. That's a sticky wicket. However, on really cold mornings the coach batteries could help get the engine started. When the engine is running, closing that relay allows the engine alternator (having a high-capacity aftermarket alternator is a good idea) to charge the coach batteries at a much greater rate than the Morningstar can handle (but it is unmanaged, so to not overdo it, the Phoenix has a dash-mounted high-current meter on the alternator output).

And the generator is started from the coach batteries. Heavy gauge wiring for high currents is a must. I solder my battery lugs onto the heavy wiring - even a fraction of an ohm resistance can be a problem. Circuit breakers will save batteries if battery wire insulation is violated by off-road conditions. Ugly story about how I know...


- Hellwinger


At_Southern_DVNP.jpg
 
Last edited:

RonapRhys

Adventurer
First off, props to you for keeping this thread going. I wish more folks were able to give you quality answers, but sometimes rarer vehicles like these don't have huge followings. I'm in a similar boat with the RV we own - a Freightliner Bounty Hunter diesel toyhauler. Very niche.

Every time I see yours or the other one here I do think they're incredibly neat machines.
 

ExpoMike

Well-known member
This popped up on my YouTube feed today. You all might have seen it before but it's a promo video of the Revcon and shows some shots during construction.

 

AdvWife

Active member
I have a question for you two fellow Revcon owners:

The rear window. Ever open it? The Spousal Unit has speculated that cracking it open would be good for air circulation in the back. Our rig has an office in the back - no ceiling fan and only the two little side slide windows that open to let in air. There are two ceiling fans - one in the shower/head and one in the aisle where the stove is. They really suck - and when widows are opened, lots of fresh air comes in.

Anyhow, the rear window has a hinge on top - it looks like. I've never had the guts to open the two red latches on the inside because the window looks like an emergency escape hatch - and those are typically not designed for repeated use. So I worry about breaking that (really old by now) seal.

And speaking of windows, how does one take apart the side slide windows? There are 5 in our rig. Ours are gunked up a bit. I'd like to disassemble for a thorough cleaning.

I've taken apart the slide windows up in the bed. That was satisfying - and keeping them clean is the trick to keeping them from leaking. Because they are canted out a bit (not the angle they were designed for by the way), they collect more rain that washes down into the little gutter the panes sit in. If that or the weep holes are obstructed, the water overflows to the inside. It's a gravitational maze system, like shingles - there is no positive seal.

Curious to hear of your experiences . . .

- Hellwinger
All of our windows were removed and reinstalled. When the previous owner had it repainted it was done poorly with no prep. So we stripped it down completely for a repaint.
We took out reinstalled the front side windows and they leaked after the 1st rain. Crap. Not good to hear that this is a common issue. We’ll have to figure that out for the long haul. I don’t know how to take apart the larger windows. Haven’t tried yet.
As for the back window, yes it opens. But it won’t stay open without something propping it open. I’ve been mulling ideas over on how to make it more usable.
We purchased the small marine fans that are common in sail boats to install in the rear. We’re changing the layout completely so where your office is will be the bedroom. A small fan of two hopefully will help with air circulation without needing to run the AC or fan.
 

Hellwinger

New member
First off, props to you for keeping this thread going. I wish more folks were able to give you quality answers, but sometimes rarer vehicles like these don't have huge followings. I'm in a similar boat with the RV we own - a Freightliner Bounty Hunter diesel toyhauler. Very niche.

Every time I see yours or the other one here I do think they're incredibly neat machines.
Thank you, RpR.
 

Hellwinger

New member
This popped up on my YouTube feed today. You all might have seen it before but it's a promo video of the Revcon and shows some shots during construction.

Thank you very much for this, EM. I had seen it, but must have been distracted by the over-the-top sales pitch. Indeed there is technical value. And probably historic too, If one wanted to chase down the former owner.

Thanks for the heads-up about watching for construction tips. I did learn something about floor construction, verified by what I have encountered on my rig: A steel support scaffold welded to the vehicle frame supporting a lightweight welded aluminum frame with a thin skin on the bottom, and then plywood on top of that. How flexure is accommodated I have not worked out yet, but now that I understand the layup, I can look for it.

- Hellwinger
 

Hellwinger

New member
All of our windows were removed and reinstalled. When the previous owner had it repainted it was done poorly with no prep. So we stripped it down completely for a repaint.
We took out reinstalled the front side windows and they leaked after the 1st rain. Crap. Not good to hear that this is a common issue. We’ll have to figure that out for the long haul. I don’t know how to take apart the larger windows. Haven’t tried yet.
As for the back window, yes it opens. But it won’t stay open without something propping it open. I’ve been mulling ideas over on how to make it more usable.
We purchased the small marine fans that are common in sail boats to install in the rear. We’re changing the layout completely so where your office is will be the bedroom. A small fan of two hopefully will help with air circulation without needing to run the AC or fan.
Thank you, AW.

Mounted as they are, the drains of the front side windows can be overcome by heavy or wind-driven rain, I think. Especially if they are clogged in any way. The window pane sits in a U channel. Looking at a cross-section, the water that is running down the outside of the windowpane runs into the U, which has a drain hole at the bottom of the outside. Tilted like the whole thing is, the top of the inside wall of the U is now lower. I cleaned my U channel and filed the outside bottom lip of the drain holes to make them a tiny bit lower in relation to the inside corner of the U. Seems to have done the trick through a few rainstorms since then.

Looking at the little sliding windows at the bottom of the large side windows, I am thinking the screen has to be removed somehow. I have taken the interior window frame off and looked at things in the past. I am not a screening whiz, am reluctant to remove the came. Part of my kit for problem solving is setting up a block of time and preparing the area for easy access so that tearing into it is that much easier. One of these days . . .

Good to hear about the back window. Thanks. It will be opened for the first time in years. I plan to take a lot of care with the seal, and apply silicone so it does not stick. This video below is very informative and indicative of the propping solution. Perusing Amazon, it looks like parts are available for the kind of escape window featured that could be adapted . . .
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A2L9GaIsRA

I am also contemplating a screen solution involving an interior frame for the screen held to the interior of the window frame by magnets.

Yes, small fans are very effective. Options range from cheap noisy ones to quiet variable speed types. Have yet to try the more expensive fans out there.

And, we have found that radiant barrier insulation in the windows works great to keep the heat out. And for storage.

- Hellwinger
 
Last edited:

Hellwinger

New member
The attached photo is of the jelly-jar watch glass I put on my propane refer. Not only does it enable easy verification that the flame is lit, but also allows inspection of the flame quality. What can happen is that rust flakes and other debris can fall down the chimney and clog the air/fuel mixing/distribution slots. I'd hazard a guess that sort of clogging could result in a fire if left un-maintained. I just pop-riveted the jar lid to the baffle and cut a hole in it.

Not shown is a big toggle switch over to the side that allows me to turn off the refer at gas stations without having to deploy the steps and enter the RV.

Also note the double-bubble-double-foil radiant barrier on the right. I recently re-installed the fridge unit in the cabinetry and added insulation around the outside. The microwave on top was mounted on a shelf that collapsed and the fridge had to be taken out of its cubby to fix it. That's when I figured out that the top back corner of the micro was restricting the flow of warm air as it convectively exited the fridge condenser coils.

So the thing was re-engineered to allow more convective warmed air flow in the louvered outside access door and out the top roof vent. And I added airflow helper fans that come on via a bimetal switch on the condenser coils. It is clamped on the correct coil to make it switch on when the weather gets hot or airflow is disrupted on the road. I have an override switch as well.

That, and keeping the thing level is key to proper ammonia-cycle refrigeration. And to that end, on the outside, I have mounted bubble levels. I use those to figure out where to place and how much to adjust the leveling jacks.

- Hellwinger
 

Attachments

Hellwinger

New member
The fluorescent light fixtures in the Phoenix are built-in and look just fine, so I upgraded them by ripping out the mercury-phosphorescent tubes and ballast and then sticking in strips of warm white LEDs. I kinda overdid it and so added a dimmer (tan box at far left corner). The three green LEDs down the middle are not super-bright, I have a few such in strategic fixtures around the cabin. They are moonlight nightlights. Sometimes the Phoenix boondocks in some awfully dark places. Also present is a party light that enables red lighting for amateur astronomy. And, one of a few alkaline cell emergency lights.

Phosphorescent spray-paint applied to the inside of the diffuser is a bit of added fun. It glows for about 5 minutes after the lights are switched off. It's pretty invisible otherwise, maybe adds to the diffusing a bit. Did it on a whim. Works great - the decaying light helps while eyes dark adapt. The "white" LEDs charge it well because they are actually blue LEDs pumping a spectrally balanced yellow mixture of fluorescent salts. The blue light they emit also pumps the phosphorous entrained in the clear binder of the paint . . .
 

Attachments

Top