Do you sometimes (often?) wish you had a bit more grunt in your RV’s power? See what this Winnebago owner did with his rig.
America’s long tradition of hitting the open highway in a big, lumbering RV has always run into one big roadblock: Those things are slow. That’s probably for the best, considering we’re talking about a one-bedroom apartment on wheels with minimal crash protection. But more grunt is always a good thing, and this turbo LS-swapped 1978 Winnebago hits that patriotic power chord like few projects before it, reports The Drive.
Justin Kramer of the Fuel Injection Sucks YouTube channel recently took his boosted Winnie out for a 400-mile inaugural shakedown run after a summer of work saw the old RV undergo a heart transplant. Originally built on a Dodge M400 truck chassis and powered by an anemic 7.2-liter 440 Chrysler engine, the 1978 Winnebago Chieftain now runs a 6.0-liter turbocharged LS V-8 as it gets ready to prowl the country’s campsites.
Seven videos document the six-month process which looks to have run into the same trials and tribulations as a normal engine swap.
The Winnebago was in surprisingly good shape when he and his friends got their hands on it, and the shag-heavy ’70s interior survived the swap in all its faux wood glory. One benefit to the design is that the engine is accessed through a hatch between the front seats, which was removed for diagnostic purposes during early test drives. Nothing like hitting the open road with you, your pals, and a churning V-8 in the cabin.
No word on performance data yet, though we doubt its spec sheet will lead to any speed records. But that’s not really the point: This 40-year-old RV now has all the passing power it needs to keep up with modern traffic, arguably making it safer to drive today.
Doesn’t hurt that it sounds fantastic from the outside, either. The rumble, the turbo, the wastegate – if RV companies want to get millennials in on the new sales boom, this isn’t a bad place to start.