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Old 06-20-2017, 08:48 PM   #1
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Hello to All from the Gulf Coast!!

Howdy Everyone!

We've just bought our first RV ever, and went with a 1979 Datsun Sunline! The RV has only 37K miles and appears to be in decent shape for a vehicle almost 40yrs old.

We've got a few things to do to it to make it ready for trips, and I'm anxious to peruse the site here and glean some important information. While I'm a decent mechanic and do most of my own repairs, this is my first RV so I'm sure to run into a few things I don't have experience with.

For starters, I'd like to have the VIN decoded so I have some idea of the actual vehicle we have here (since I didn't get an owners manual). I do have the Datsun VIN, but I'm sure I need to post the Sunline VIN.
Can someone tell me where I can find that, maybe in one of the side compartments?

Currently, us and the Datsun reside on Galveston Island, near Texas. If you're in the area feel free to reach out to me here and we'll try to get together for some fun on the beach. I'm a dedicated motorcyclist, and ride everyday into Houston for work (60+mi each way). My GF is a nurse and works here on the Island.

I'm also into AMC cars, and currently have an '83 AMC Spirit GT that I take out for cruise nights and shows in the area. That's been a real project, and primed me well for the RV (I Hope).


I'm typically pretty active on any boards where I'm a member, so you'll be seeing posts from me fairly regularly.

We've already started cleaning it out and getting it ready for some quick repairs, I'll post pics of the inside shortly.
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Old 06-21-2017, 08:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Islanders View Post
Howdy Everyone!

We've just bought our first RV ever, and went with a 1979 Datsun Sunline! The RV has only 37K miles and appears to be in decent shape for a vehicle almost 40yrs old.

We've got a few things to do to it to make it ready for trips, and I'm anxious to peruse the site here and glean some important information. While I'm a decent mechanic and do most of my own repairs, this is my first RV so I'm sure to run into a few things I don't have experience with.

For starters, I'd like to have the VIN decoded so I have some idea of the actual vehicle we have here (since I didn't get an owners manual). I do have the Datsun VIN, but I'm sure I need to post the Sunline VIN.
Can someone tell me where I can find that, maybe in one of the side compartments?

Currently, us and the Datsun reside on Galveston Island, near Texas. If you're in the area feel free to reach out to me here and we'll try to get together for some fun on the beach. I'm a dedicated motorcyclist, and ride everyday into Houston for work (60+mi each way). My GF is a nurse and works here on the Island.

I'm also into AMC cars, and currently have an '83 AMC Spirit GT that I take out for cruise nights and shows in the area. That's been a real project, and primed me well for the RV (I Hope).


I'm typically pretty active on any boards where I'm a member, so you'll be seeing posts from me fairly regularly.

We've already started cleaning it out and getting it ready for some quick repairs, I'll post pics of the inside shortly.


Hi there, a member here that goes by Sunline Fan helped me identify my project Sunline travel trailer, perhaps they will see this and help you! This board has been a great educational experience for me, many helpful members willing to share their experiences good and bad,

Tammy the traveler (RN)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:26 AM   #3
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Welcome to the SOC! You have a rare Sunline there and, from your pixs, looks in pretty good shape. Any interior pixs? As Tammy said, Sunline Fan will be able to help you with the VIN, etc.

We were in Texas in May and camped at Ft. Parker State Park near Mexia & in the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg - both very nice parks. We were in a Jayco pop-up rather than our Sunline but that's another story.

Happy Camping!
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:28 AM   #4
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Welcome to the SOC! You have a rare Sunline there and, from your pixs, looks in pretty good shape. Any interior pixs? As Tammy said, Sunline Fan will be able to help you with the VIN, etc.

We were in Texas in May and camped at Ft. Parker State Park near Mexia & in the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg - both very nice parks. We were in a Jayco pop-up rather than our Sunline but that's another story.

Happy Camping!
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TV: 2012 Ford F-150, 4x4/Off-road, 5.0L V8, "Big Gray"
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:28 PM   #5
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Awesome find! Yes, your motorhome should have a separate Sunline VIN, in addition to the Datsun VIN. Luckily I recently confirmed this to be true. It would be located on a quality control certification posted inside one of the closets, on the back wall. If that is missing, the only other place I know it to be is under the sill plate of the coach entry door, or possibly under the door frame. There should be three or four screws holding down that sill plate inside, pull them off and carefully pry up the sill plate. There should be an aluminum tag under it with the Sunline VIN. That'll confirm the production number and year of the coach (usually the same as the chassis, but not always).

If you want to send me the Datsun chassis VIN too, I can cross reference that to see if I have any past records of it. There weren't many of these motorhomes made, I'm told somewhere around 100 or less, and many of the survivors have oddly enough ended up on eBay. They are often posted with the chassis VINs on there.

It does appear to have had some front end damage at one time, because the striping would have continued all the way down the front fenders. Plus, as you may know, it originally had a factory chrome Datsun bumper on the front.

Also, I understand there was a recall for the dual tire adapters, so you may want to look into that since yours still has the dual setup. They often just replaced it with a single tire instead. I've also heard the axle may be too light duty back there, but that might just be on the Toyota chassis versions. Sunline built a lot of the early Solaris motorhomes on Datsun chassis, and then later on started offering a Toyota option.
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunline Fan View Post
If you want to send me the Datsun chassis VIN too, I can cross reference that to see if I have any past records of it. There weren't many of these motorhomes made, I'm told somewhere around 100 or less, and many of the survivors have oddly enough ended up on eBay. They are often posted with the chassis VINs on there.
Here's the VIN Tag from behind the driver door, I'll look for the Sunline VIN and post it too.

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Old 06-21-2017, 04:07 PM   #7
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Additional Pics of the Datsun Sunline RV

Here's a few more pics of our new RV

The cockpit, I have the missing floormat (just missing for this shot):


The thermostat, "Hydro-Flame"...?


The upper bunk, we're replacing the bedding (foam and covers):


The power converter, hopefully this works, but maybe we should just replace it with a newer unit:
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Islanders View Post
Here's the VIN Tag from behind the driver door, I'll look for the Sunline VIN and post it too.

Ooh ooh ooh!! That exact VIN sticker was always mounted on the outside of the trailers, with a clear film over it. The film failed quickly, and the stickers all deteriorated. It's rare to find a trailer with a legible sticker anymore older than 1988. I figured they put the same stickers on the Solaris motorhomes, because when they fall apart, you literally can barely see where they were unless you see it in person. Putting them in the door jam was smart, and you still have a sticker today!

A couple things to note. Sunline and the International Travel Trailer Company were basically one in the same, ITT was a spin off that was short lived. They basically built a re-badged Sunline with slight differences, and named it the Coyote. They did a small motorhome as well, even though I've never seen one, called the Coyote Sports Wagon. Clearly yours is Sunline badged, so I'm not sure why ITT has the sticker. Perhaps because it was built at the ITT building, not the main Sunline plant. Interesting. There are brochures for both the Sunline Solaris version and the Coyote Sports Wagon version in the files section of this site.

I believe the correct Datsun chassis VIN is 12-13 digits long, so it'll only be the first three sections of what's on your sticker. That should match what's on the title, but I'm curious if the whole thing is on there. This was built before VIN standards of 17 digits, so they could pretty much do whatever they wanted.

The Sunline serial number should be that last part on the sticker, S24679, because that's the Sunline format. This would mean it's the 246th Sunline built in 1979, of any model. The S prefix would indicate Solaris motorhome, whereas T was for trailer, C for truck camper, etc. Hopefully the plate under your entry door matches this S24679. It may only have the 24679 part, so don't be surprised if it's that way.
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:21 PM   #9
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On your thermostat- that's just the furnace thermostat. The A/C is very likely controlled on the unit itself, on the ceiling. The furnace thermostat is pretty simple, but confused me at first. The one lever moves easily to control the temp, and has full range of motion. The other lever, for on/off, threw me- it moves very little, rotates on a pivot point just up from what you see, and is kinda tough to push. It should snap over to the right to turn it on. Lucky for you, you probably won't have to use it very often!
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
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the only other place I know it to be is under the sill plate of the coach entry door, or possibly under the door frame. There should be three or four screws holding down that sill plate inside, pull them off and carefully pry up the sill plate. There should be an aluminum tag under it with the Sunline VIN. That'll confirm the production number and year of the coach (usually the same as the chassis, but not always).
Here's the camper door sill/frame:


Here's the tag under there, what we're looking for I'm guessing:
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:51 PM   #11
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I believe the correct Datsun chassis VIN is 12-13 digits long, so it'll only be the first three sections of what's on your sticker. That should match what's on the title, but I'm curious if the whole thing is on there. This was built before VIN standards of 17 digits, so they could pretty much do whatever they wanted.
Yes, the title shows all digits, the same as the tag I posted, ending with "S24679"
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Old 06-21-2017, 05:02 PM   #12
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The A/C is very likely controlled on the unit itself, on the ceiling.
Yes it is, here's the A/C unit:


We're thinking about replacing it, as while it does blow air, it doesn't blow any cold/cool air. This will be one of the items I'll need help with as I don't have any real experience with RV A/C units.
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Old 06-21-2017, 05:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunline Fan View Post
A couple things to note. Sunline and the International Travel Trailer Company were basically one in the same, ITT was a spin off that was short lived. They basically built a re-badged Sunline with slight differences, and named it the Coyote. They did a small motorhome as well, even though I've never seen one, called the Coyote Sports Wagon. Clearly yours is Sunline badged, so I'm not sure why ITT has the sticker. Perhaps because it was built at the ITT building, not the main Sunline plant. Interesting. There are brochures for both the Sunline Solaris version and the Coyote Sports Wagon version in the files section of this site.
Good info! After reading this I was hoping for a Coyote Sport Wagon (cooler sounding name). But we definitely have the "Front-Dinette Layout" from the Sunline brochure, so I'd have to say its a Sunline Solaris.
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Old 06-22-2017, 02:20 PM   #14
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Yes, the title shows all digits, the same as the tag I posted, ending with "S24679"
Interesting, thanks for confirming! I find it funny that they just randomly screwed on the tag and put the screw right through the numbers! At least your sticker confirmed the year.

Quote:
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Yes it is, here's the A/C unit:


We're thinking about replacing it, as while it does blow air, it doesn't blow any cold/cool air. This will be one of the items I'll need help with as I don't have any real experience with RV A/C units.
Unfortunately I don't either, other than I know you usually have to replace them because any major component is more than a new entire unit. Especially with the age of that one, you probably won't find parts for it. You could have an HVAC tech look at it and see if it just needs a recharge, but I wouldn't bank on that fixing it.
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 06-23-2017, 01:52 PM   #15
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You are officially in the registry! I looked back at my archives and using the theory of the Sunline VIN being the end of the full VIN, I found one more! I had a couple others that just posted the chassis VIN, perhaps from a tag in the engine compartment or windshield, so I couldn't put them in too.

So...here's S23979, a '79 Solaris Front Dinette that was for sale on eBay in WV back in 2010:



Not sure why it has the deluxe radius corner windows, that's unusual.
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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