The Balboas were built on the Chevrolet, Dodge and Early Ford Chassis. All of the Balboas started out as standard vans and had the rear body cut off. My build sheet from GM shows that the van was ordered without a rear bumper or taillights.
1 ton chassis versions were used. The van body was cut off and the dual walled fiberglass body was installed. This body gave more width and standing height inside the vehicle. The lower interior body was fiberglass exterior and oak look veneer wood panel inside. The RV portion sits on the original corrugated steel floor of the van. The rear frame is extended with a heavy steel bumper assembly to hold a repositioned gas tank and the gray/black water tank.
It appears to have a layer of styrofoam insulation, then a plywood base. This is fiberglassed to the wall sections.
I'd be curious to know if anyone has separated the body from the van frame. What holds the body onto the van chassis?
There appear to be 2 different layouts, first with an L shaped kitchenette on the driver side, with double sink and storage, and a 4 burner gas range and oven opposite. Refrigerator was located next to the range. This version had single sliding windows. The other was a “straight” kitchen, with stove, fridge and sink lined up on the driver side.
Balboas were well equipped with a 30 gallon water tank located under the passenger side bench. This is a large capacity for an RV of this size. It is serviced by a 12v water pump and also has a hybrid marine style 120v / engine heated hot water heater that uses waste heat from the engine while driving. You can arrive at your destination with piping hot water, ready to go. This appears to be derived from the roots of the Balboas, being built by Jensen Marine in Costa Mesa, California.
The full bathroom, unusual for a unit this size, has a sink, shower, small vanity and light. It has an electric macerating Thetford toilet right above the large holding tank. The toilet is still produced today, in a slightly update form. The toilet is self contained and has approximately 7 gallons of capacity. It is primed with 3 gallons of water for initial flushing. You can dump the toilet into the gray tank at a dump site. There is a fan equipped exhaust vent in the ceiling. All versions seem to have the same bathroom layout.
A rear mounted combination gray and black water tank is positioned in front of the rear bumper. The bumper is heavily reinforced to protect from collisions and the resulting ugly mess that could occur. Having removed this tank, it's not exactly designed for the Balboa, it looks like a trailer tank that would normally sit on trailer frame rails. It's not the highest in engineering but it gets the job done.
Fresh Water: 30 gallons +/-
Grey/Black water: 20+/- gallons
Toilet: self contained holding tank ca. 7 gallons, recirculating
Shower: Marine style, hand held
Sink: double sink in kitchen, marine style hand wash sink in wet bath.
House battery, Group 24 Deep Cycle
Newman DCV 50 amp 12 volt converter
50 amp connection
Gas powered generator optional
40 lb. chassis mounted propane tank, holds 9.4 gallons of liquid propane.
70s colors, naturally!
Van cabs were usually standard white, fiberglass body, white gelcoat with accent stripe and aluminum seam trim with vinyl insert.