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Author Topic: 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper-- good find?  (Read 6607 times)

drec

  • Posts: 1
1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper-- good find?
« on: April 05, 2011, 09:41:18 PM »
Hi all,

I'm brand new to RVing; we can't afford a Westfalia and I'm not prepared to deal with all of the hassles that come with those beautiful vans.  We found a 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper locally that the owner has said is in tiptop mechanical condition; some of the cosmetics in the interior need to be redone, and while the propane stove is working, something is wrong with the propane heater and it is not.  It is going for $1800.  The owner is willing to throw in a separate bbq tank with a portable flameless blower.

I can't find much on the Net about these vans, save for one site in which most posters say their vans have been reliable.  Are these good camping vans?  How easy is it to find the parts?  I assume it's a 318 V8 in there and I see 318s all the time in my local ads; can these 318s fit in the Tradesman if I were to buy it and the engine went after a year or two?

Anything else I need to know about these vans!  Thanks, from an RV newbie.

34footer

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  • Posts: 965
Re: 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper-- good find?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011, 10:06:19 PM »
Is this a class b or c?
J
1988 Pace Arrow, 34 feet, Chevy 454
                       So Cal

RoyM

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  • Posts: 1199
Re: 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper-- good find?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2011, 10:53:13 PM »
The 318 was a very tough engine but was discontinued quite a few years ago. A used one will be likely worn out, that is probably why the guy is trying to sell it.
There were a few problem areas with the old Chrysler products. The major one is rust. Electrical was also an issue, the ballast resistor and electronic ignition tended to fail at the most inconvenient times. The auto choke was also a pita.
That unit is over 30 years old, be patient and prepared for wrench time. If you are not mechanically inclined and willing to accept a challenge, pass on it.
Ram 2500 diesel
Prowler fifth wheel
Urge to travel

1275gtsport

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  • Posts: 409
Re: 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper-- good find?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011, 06:37:46 AM »
the 318 was a standard dodge engine any 318 will fit. seeing as the van is over 30 you will want to replace all the rubber parts. most will be avail at your local parts store. ie: rad hose, fuel line. I have 1974 sportsman 300 (1 ton class c) the 200 was 3/4 ton and class b camper. if the layout is good for you and you can work on it or have a good mechanic (as in fair price for quality work)then it should be a serviceable camper. have the trans flushed and filter changed at at good shop. don't go to wal-mart go to a transmission place. I took mine to a pop and son place and they were very up front and fair priced. even tightened the bands for our first trip (2800 miles)
we also replaced the tires and any brake line that needed it. as long as the things that are broken are fixed. no problems on the road.
however you should not be afraid (or unable) to through money at it for the first year at least. we spent 3 times the purchase price on repairing our camper of course most of that was repairing the rotten wood in the "house" part.

Oh and with the heater. be very carefull with the one that is built in. it could have the fire box burnt out. if your not comfortable doing it your self take it to a place that will service propane appliances if it is not right it will kill you! in mine the fire box is ok and just needed the jet cleaned.

and one last thing. have fun.

34footer

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  • Posts: 965
Re: 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper-- good find?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2011, 07:06:40 PM »
To really wake up that camper drop in a 360. Bolts up also.
J
1988 Pace Arrow, 34 feet, Chevy 454
                       So Cal

vanman2

  • Posts: 3
Re: 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper-- good find?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2011, 09:48:07 PM »
Hello all from Florida , i am in the proses of redoing my 1976 Dodge B200 van 127wb 318 3spd automatic that i have been using for camping and weekend get away's for years ~~ i plan on retiring selling my home and living in it full time and just traveling around this great country of ours ~~~ well that's my dream anyway  van on America

poncho62

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  • Posts: 207
    • Budget RVs
Re: 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper-- good find?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 07:32:20 PM »
Old thread I know, but I think relevant. I had a 77 Tradesman a few years ago...was a really great van, took it out west to Yellowstone etc,,,,,5000 mile total trip....a bit hard on gas, but not bad for a 30 year old van.


« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 07:34:00 PM by poncho62 »
Hanover, Ontario, Canada

JimWheeler

  • Posts: 4
Re: 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 camper-- good find?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2012, 08:40:14 AM »
just got a 78 dodge tradesman 200 for less than a 1k$- some issues but having fun fixn it up- may sell it or use it- we'l see
 the 318 sounds good
 got to get under it and lube n chk things
ditto w propane applicances