50k Mile Micro-Mini RV: 1985 Toyota Sunrader

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Those of you who are lucky enough to live in a more temperate climate than a few million of us igloo dwellers live in, you’re lucky in that you can use a vehicle like this 1985 Toyota Sunrader throughout the whole year. This little rig can be found here on craigslist in Castro Valley, California and the seller is asking $8,900 or offer. Thanks to Pat L. for submitting this tip!

For the last few decades, I’ve had a dream of selling everything and buying a VW Westfalia camper van and just hitting the road. Something like this 21-foot Sunrader would sure be more roomy and comfortable, though. I’m guessing that it would be at least as reliable and get similar mpg at around 15-18 mpg or so. It wouldn’t fit in our garage but I wouldn’t have a garage if I sold everything so who cares? The seller has owned this beauty since 1996 and they’re only the second owner.

I believe that this is a Sunrader Silverada RD since it’s a rear dinette model. Values are all over the place on these Toyota Class C motorhomes. This is always just a seat of the pants general ballpark (how’s that for covering my tracks?) estimate, but NADA lists a similar 1985 Toyota Sunrader Silverada at $4,445 as an average value. This cab appears to have been repainted at some point because the stripes are missing on the tops of the fenders, but who knows.

Anytime that a person can manually shift a regular car or truck that’s great, but when you can work a third pedal on your motorhome for cryin’ out loud, that’s as cool as it gets in my world! I know, I need to get out more, but come on, who’s with me?! (train whistle in the distance) (tumbleweed blowing by). Ok, a VW camper van also most likely has a manual transmission but it probably wouldn’t have the option of having power steering and brakes and AC. I don’t know if this Sunrader has AC or not, I doubt it since the seller doesn’t mention it at all and, sigh, there is no engine photo out of 24 photos. For the record, I know that a person could have AC in a VW van.

This Sunrader should have Toyota’s 22R 2.4L inline-four with just over 100 hp. Since there is no engine photo to take a gander at, let’s check out the toilet! How many times can we say that here at Barn Finds? This toilet is an Amalgamated Industries XJ-2000 Magic-Flush with .. no, just kidding, I don’t know what it is but the fact that a micro-mini Toyota motorhome has a toilet and a shower is enough for me to want this rig. Have any of you owned a micro-mini class-c motorhome like this Toyota Sunrader?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. poseurMember

    i get the shivers imagining piloting this thing up any significant incline even without a load….my little brain starts smoking with the idea of adding water in the tanks, fuel, personal possessions, food, cooking & eating utensils, and gosh forbid….family members.
    with the rate most drivers haul butt up the mountains this unaerodynamic rolling roadblock would be punted off onto the shoulder in no time.
    that said, i always thought they looked cool & were probably the ideal size for a couple

    Like 20
    • Daniel G Rawinsky

      My ex-wife owned two of the Dolphin models, she lived in them full time. She lived in Albuquerque, NM and everything poseur wrote above is true. Overloaded, under powered. No one wrote anything about the duel rear wheels. They were two single wheels welded together. I have not worked on one of these in 30 years so I might be wrong but if the inner rear tire went flat you have to dismount the outer tire to get it off. The rear tires were over loaded even it they were air up to max pressure. On the other hand, the VW was also under powered. It was not possible to run the A/C going up hill with any of these. I had a 1960 VW bus with sunroof and all the upper windows and a 40 horse engine. I bought it with a blown engine and got an engine out of a 1965 wreck and installed it into the 1960. Drove that for 2 years and blew #3 rod. I bought a brand new 1970 VW bus from the VW dealer I used to work for. I worked for a messenger service in NY NJ metro area. 30,000 miles and #3 rod blew. I did everything right to keep this van in perfect condition. Oil changes at 2,000 miles, full service every 6,000 miles. I even waxed the engine compartment. I sold it for what I paid for it and bought a 1966 IH 1100A Travelall. It had a 5 speed overdrive manual which I kept when I bought my 1971 IH 1310 to pull my 27 Holiday Rambler. I don’t know if the IH and HR were the right vehicle or not. In 1983 I bought a 1981 Ford E150 with a 351W. I converted it into a camper van and found it was terribly under powered, but we used it for 27 years. Now I have a 1987 E350 Extended, high top, with a 6.9 diesel. I never got around to converting it to a camper but it would make a great camper van. It is on my to due list.

      Like 4
  2. Dean

    Posting deleted

    Like 5
  3. boxdin

    When these were delivered new they exceeded their GVW. From time to time a rear axle would separate. They were recalled later.

    Like 5
    • Glenn Schwass

      That is just so clean. I hope it goes to a good home.

      Like 1
  4. Big Len

    poseur – Totally agree and would add, this better have big brakes on the way down.

    Like 4
  5. Jerry

    Probably push button a/c to the left of the blower motor selector

    Like 3
  6. Miguel

    Does this seller think it has a high value because it is a Toyota or because it is a motor home? I wonder.

    Like 1
    • Jake

      they do have high value cause they r built well, and ppl want em, if I was n the market, I’d b on my way to look, fiber shell is big plus, few yrs later b better but they hard to come by

      Like 3
  7. PDXBryan

    Funny that I saw the first one of these I’ve ever seen, on the road yesterday. A college buddy had an older, smaller version that we’d pile into to go to concerts etc. It actually motivated quite fine.

    Like 3
  8. Matt Toni

    The 4×4 edition tops 30k regularly.

    Like 3
  9. Oregon_Guy78

    I used to work as an independent appraiser for RV’s for insurance companies, the Toyota mini motorhomes are highly sought after and bring top dollar on the used market. National RV made the Dolphin line for many years and the next generation Toyota truck with the 3.0L V6 is extremely popular.

    Like 10
  10. SMS

    Have owned these and Vanagon Westy’s. Both are good for couples. Westy’s are more comfortable driving and these are more comfortable camping. Never a problem going up hills in any of them, including a diesel Westy.

    Fill up the water tank when you park and use the same gear going down hill as you did going uphill.

    Too small to sell up and hit the road with. What they are great for is reminding you that life is too short to stay put. Just jump in and take off when the weather is nice. Take a weekend or a week. Helps remember why you got married when the two of you get away from the urgent and unimportant things of life.

    Like 12
  11. 8banger DaveMember

    For what it’s worth, the Toyota 3.0 was a low point for them.

    Like 3
    • Jake

      yeah, i’d never have another 3.o L worst engine Toy made

      Like 3
      • Otto Nobedder

        That engine was known as ‘3 point slow’. (3.0) :>)

        Like 0
  12. sam kaplan

    we had a crossman toyota, theres something to be said about driving 55 in the right lane and never having to pass anyone, reduces stress. On the other hand having to fill the gas tank every 140 miles and overcome the bad RV engineering, which put them out of biz, made you scratch your head. Engine was indestructible but auto tranny gave out on a hill on a 2000 mile trip. Had to leave it never to see her again. the toyota 1 ton chassis was interesting, always thought it would make a good flatbed.

    Like 1
  13. Wayne

    I used to work at a Toyota store that sold these. Having owned camp trailers, travel trailers and 5th wheels most of my adult life I am continually amazed at the lack of quality in most RVs. (Holiday Rambler and Lazy Daze being a major exception) But the Sun Rader was a pleasant surprise. (quite a nice unit) While at the Toyota store we did have to to replace several wear wheels under recall.
    Always wanted to find a used one in nice condition and drop in a small block Ford with SFI. The fuel economy would not suffer one bit. But the aggravation aspect from the low power would be gone. (I did measure, and this would be an easy swap.)

    Like 4
  14. Todd FitchStaff

    Hey Scotty. You had me going on the XJ-2000 Magic-Flush… I wanted to know more. How many vehicles have a a stick-shift *and* a toilet? Love it.

    Like 1

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