Super Clean Sunrader: 1986 Toyota Motorhome

Oftentimes, when you look at a mini camper, you go into it knowing you’re going to make some concessions for having a vehicle that is easier to maneuver and far more fuel-efficient than a full-size motorhome. You’re not going to have a toilet, a shower, or some sort of cooking appliance. But in the case of this classic 1986 Toyota Sunrader motorhome, it sure seems like there are relatively few penalties for wanting to enjoy life on the road in a smaller package. The Toyota has just 66,000 miles on the clock and is listed here on eBay with bids to $14,800 with the reserve unmet.

The Sunrader is a pretty compelling package regardless of which small Japanese pickup truck it’s bolted to. There’s a ton of glass for lots of natural daylighting, and despite the small proportions of the Toyota cab, it doesn’t look all that awkward. I wouldn’t say the camper shell looks like it was meant to be there, but it’s far cleaner-looking than it should be. The cosmetics look plenty tidy on this one with even the period-correct decal stripe intact. The listing describes loads of recent maintenance that should lead to years of trouble-free motoring on the backroads and interstates of this great country.

Generally, the biggest concern I have with “affordable” campers is the interior condition. These can still be bought for less than $8,000 in project form, which usually leads to the interior finishes and kitchen equipment being completely trashed in short order. Not here, as you can clearly see the Sunrader has been loved since new. The seller reports it is equipped with a toilet, shower, sink, hot water tank, four-burner stove, furnace, A/C, an 800-watt inverter, propane tank, and a refrigerator. The living spaces consist of a full-size overhead bed and a rear dinette that can be converted into a sleeping area as well.

The fuel-injected 22-RE engine is no powerhouse but it is extremely long-lived. The seller notes lots of big-ticket recent maintenance, including a new headgasket and rebuilt cylinder head. The front brake rotors have been replaced and the front shocks upgraded to Bilstein units. A transmission cooler has been installed to ensure the automatic gearbox doesn’t overheat when going up a hill. There’s also a new Magnaflow muffler and new coach battery as well, among several other improvements and upgrades. A Toyota Sunrader camper looks like loads of fun to me, and this one has to be one of the best on the market at the moment.


  1. Gunner

    These small motorhomes can be quite appealing as the spirited bidding shows. However, they have an Achilles Heel. That being that they are under powered. The 22R is a great engine. I had one in my once owned ‘87 4Runner. That said, it took some time for it to get up to freeway speed. As with my 4Runner and this Motorhome, they both have automatics, making acceleration even slower. You would have to wait until 1990 for a V6 in these, a much needed upgrade. Now for the Sunrader. It is the top of the line in the varieties that were put on these chassis. A two piece fiberglass shell to start and virtually leakproof. It also has the rare floor plan with the kitchen in the back. The one to have with that huge window for scenery. If you intend on using it for flat plain, great. If you are going to use it for elevated driving, then not recommended. I did much research on these back in the 2000’s as I intended to purchase a V6 Sunrader. I did not ever find one that suited me, and the urge passed. This one is in excellent condition and well taken care of. For what it is, or is not, it deserves respect.

    Like 16
    • JD Herrera

      Spot-on commentary on the 4 cylinder. I had one and didn’t keep it very long.

      Like 3
    • chrlsful

      not only that but the bent6 is not as good a motor. Bigger anit better, can haul more weight tho.
      A 2.7 is the one, turboed~
      (we get 750 HP).

      Like 1
  2. RoughDiamond Member

    @Gunner-thank you for this valuable information. I was giving some serious thought to this as I have recently been giving some serious consideration to living off the grid as much as possible. When I saw the 4 cylinder behind the automatic transmission though I knew camping in the mountains was a no go. I too believe that a V6 is mandatory preferably with a manual transmission.

    Like 4
    • americanpursuit

      Good luck with that, the manual behind a V6 was the most rare of combinations for a Toyota truck in this era…accounting for something like .2 percent of production, literally. I’m not making that up, a friend and professional motorcycle road racer owned and extended cab version in the late ’80’s.

      Like 1
  3. RallyAce

    Most of these tiny motorhomes were overloaded as soon as you put two people in the cab.

    Like 3
    • Randy Anderson

      Their made for the smaller cheaper people in mind not somebody over six feet tall lol!

  4. Charlie

    I have only one thing to say , Cummins 4BT swap . Ok one more , LS swap . At any rate , get the 22RE out of it , so you can go up hills @ over 45mph . JMO .

    Like 3
    • americanpursuit

      That would actually be very cool either way, if done properly.

  5. Car Nut Toyota

    How about a Toyota 2.4 Turbo Diesel engine. I’d go for that. If only more exterior pics were posted. There’s plenty of interior pics to see. Why not more exterior pics?

    Like 1
  6. Bob McK Member

    I was considering this unit until I read the comments. I was concerned with the size of the engine and now know that I had good reason to be concerned. Someone that doesn’t want to travel in the mountains will be very happy with this. Nice find!

  7. Tim Hammond

    My family of 5 had a lot of fun in one of these, and yes it was the 4 cyl. But they do have a combination toilet with shower.

    Like 1
  8. Brad460 Member

    As the owner of a few vintage Toyota pickups, the drivetrain is very reliable but they have a hard time keeping up with today’s traffic even before adding the weight of the camper.

    Great idea and this one looks superb, but the buyer will need an inordinate amount of patience.

  9. Solosolo Solosolo Member

    The best part about this camper for me is the rear seating arrangement with that beautiful rear window. Reminds me of the Rovos Rail luxury South African train idling through the Kalahari or Karoo deserts. Wonderful experience.

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