|1985 TOYOTA DOLPHIN
||United States of America
||April 4, 2017
|Describe any Recent Maintenance that has been done:
New engine, new tires, new flooring, new curtains,new cushion covers, new bed up top, new Kenwood cd player, new dinosaur electronics board for heater. The roof has been resealed along with the windows and weather stripping. I recently put up new vinyl walls in the bathroom.
|Length in Feet:
22RE Fuel Injected
|Rear Axle Type:
Toyota 6 Bolt Full Floating
Dolphin 500 Specifications Performance
Fuel consumption* … 14.2 mpg
0-60 … 26.2 seconds
40-60 … 18.9 seconds
*Fuel consumption recorded at 55 mph, 1000-feet elevation, predominately flat highway, Ambient temperature 75 degrees F.
Chassis Manufacturer … Toyota
Engine … 2.4 Liter
Net horsepower … 87 @ 4800 rpm
Net torque … 190 @ 2800 rpm
Transmission … Transmission
Axle ratio … 4.10:1
Tire Size … 185R-14LT
Wheelbase … 137″
Brakes … Front disc/rear drum
Suspension … Front torsion bar/rear leaf
Cooling system … HD
Fuel capacity … 17.2 gal
Ext length … 21’7″
Ext width … 6’11”
Ext height … 9’2″
Frame construction … Steel
Insulation … Block foam
Freshwater cap … 17.5 gal
Sink/shower holding cap … 19 gal
Waste holding cap .. 19 gal
Propane cap … 5 gal
Water system type … Demand
Furnace … 16,000 BTU
Refrigerator … 4 cu ft
Toilet … Freshwater
Converter … 30 amp
Base sugg. price … $24,500
Price as tested … $24,500
(Water, propane, fuel tanks full; no passengers or supplies)
Front axle … 1660 lbs
Rear axle … 3360 lbs
Right side … 2580 lbs
Left side … 2440 lbs
Total … 5020 lbs
Front gawr … 2200 lbs
Rear gawr … 3700 lbs
Gvwr* … 5950 lbs
*Owner may add up to 930 pounds in weight of passengers and supplies to motorhome test coach without violating manufacturer’s maximum gvwr.
Gawr: grass axle weight rating
Gvwr: gross vehicle weight rating
Micro-mini motor homes have always offered good value—a relatively large amount of living space and convenience, on a chassis that delivers fuel economy in the 12- to 15-mpg range. Many manufacturers, however have had a tendency over the years to add more and more appliances and equipment, to the point that the original concept of a compact, light-weight, economical motorhome was hardly recognizable.
National RV, manufacturer of the Dolphin, has consistently attempted to apply the brakes as the micro-mini has grown more and more corpulent. Currently, the company is leading efforts to the the micro-mini back on target and offer a realistic allowance for the weight of passengers, fuel and supplies that are added by the owner. The result is the Dolphin Model 500—a 21.7-footer built on the Toyota chassis—that offers a 775 pound payload capacity with full fuel, propane and freshwater tanks and many more options, including roof and dash air-conditioners, cruise control and AM/FM stereo. Its payload is adequate for a rig of this size, when used realistically.
Even though the Dolphin is compact, it features a fully equipped galley. Built on a Toyota foundation, this micro-mini offers enough payload capacity to comfortably accommodate a small family.
Driving This 137-inch-wheelbase rig is, to say the least, easy. The 2.4-Liter, electronic fuel injected engine propels the 5020-pound (2.5 ton) rig down the road quite well. Our test vehicle was equipped with an overdrive automatic transmission, which worked flawlessly. Overdrive was definitely for the flat lands, however. The slightest hill or grade caused the transmission to shift back and forth, typical of overdrives combined with heavy loads. The overdrive remained in gear while cruising at 55 mph, but upon increasing speed to 65, the increased wind resistance was too much for the “tall” gear, and a constant shifting back and forth resulted. The overdrive can be locked out by pushing the button on the column-mounted shifter.
As expected, the 0-to-60-mph times were nothing to write home about, but were proportional to the size of the engine and weight of the coach. The test rig had only 57 miles on it, and the engine felt right; the best 0-to-60 time was 26.2 seconds. Passing simulation tests required 18.9 ticks of the clock to go from 40 to 60 mph.
The mileage, of course beats the pants off that of larger motorhomes. Driving with an “egg” under my foot, the best mpg figure was 14.2. If pushed hard and drives at 65 mph for any length of time, with some second-gear grade pulling, fuel economy dropped to 12.8. This may improve a little with a fully broken-in engine, but still it’s very respectable for a motorhome. With the 17.2-gallon fuel tank, a reasonable cruising range of about 220 miles can be expected.
One of the biggest advantages of the Model 500 is its ability to handle mountain roads. With its low stance, the suspension seems to hunker down and really work on twisty asphalt. We were surprised by how well rig felt when pushed hard into a turn. Dolphin installs air bags at the rear axle to assist in fully supporting the coach’s weight. A sizable factory rears-stabilizer bar also contributes to the good road manners.
At an elevation of 6000 feet, the power of the little four-banger dropped off somewhat, but the difference was minor. Second gear was required much of the time at elevation on grades; we did not encounter any that required first gear. The Dolphin braked as well as it cornered. Gearing down to second went a long way toward minimizing application of the brake pedal. Even with hard use, the front-disc/rear-drum combination never faded.
Twice during our test we had the opportunity to face some stiff crosswinds, and the Dolphin took them in stride. The power steering that Toyota uses transmit accurate road feel; it’s not mushy nor is it too stiff.
The Dolphin Model 500 features fiberglass laminated side walls in sandwich constriction with block foam insulation and interior paneling. The exterior roof is a one-piece seamless aluminum sheet, as is the front cap. The flooring also contains foam-block insulation and is covered by a full aluminum underbelly for weather protection
The Model 500 seems to meet all the requirements for micro-mini Motorhoming in style and in safety. The 930-pound load capacity, coupled with ample storage, ease of handling and second-car practicality, make this rig an economical family-oriented RV.
Just aft of the cockpit area is the street side bath. Equipped with a small corner shower (6-footers will have to duck slightly; the shower height is 5 feet 81/4 inches), sink and freshwater flush toilet, the space can be called adequate—although not large. Immediately to the rear of the bath is the large wardrobe, which measures 25 × 18 × 45 inches high.
The Model 500’s curbside entrance is opposite to the bath. Upon entry, to the left is a large storage cabinet that measures a full 30 inches high and 16 inches wide. Inside, three shelves hold items that are frequently needed outdoors, such as a flashlight, charcoal lighter fluid and matches. Aft of this cabinet is the galley.
Dolphin selected the Dometic 2401 two-way (LP-gas/120-volt AC), 4-cubic-foot refrigerator for the Model 500 galley. It’s mounted at the floor level, which helps to lower the center of gravity of the rig, while creating a good size 25 × 17-inch countertop above. In fact, this Dolphin coach had more counter space than some Class A’s we’ve tested that were 8 feet longer! The four burner range top, with its folding stainless steel cover is found just to the rear of the refrigerator. On the opposite side of the range is yet another counter, measuring 23 × 18 inches. Beneath the range is a huge 22 × 22-inch storage area with a 12-inch-high door that’s perfect for storing pots and pans. Under the rearmost counter there are three drawers.
Completing the galley cooking area is the double stainless steel sink. Its location, Immediately across from the range and counter top facilitates function in the galley. Movement from the refrigerator to the range to sink is efficient. Below the sink is another large cabinet. This one measures 23 × 20 and has a 24-inch high door opening. Additional galley storage is found above the refrigerator, counters, range and sink.
The Model 500 features a dinette that comprises the rear 60 inches of the coach. It’s a U-shaped unit, which we found would seat four very comfortably. When not being used at mealtime, the dinette converts into a 60 × 80-inch queen-size bed. There’s room here for even the largest adults to sleep in comfort. In fact, for a family of four, the adults are best off in the rear bed, while kids love it “upstairs.” Under the galley and rear bed are two large 25 × 60-inch storage compartments.
When traveling, the windows in the galley area provide a panoramic view of the passing scenery. For privacy, attractive blue-gray drapes easily pull across the windows.
The Exterior of the Dolphin is laid out as well as the interior. Frankly, We didn’t expect to find any storage on the outside, considering the amount of inside storage, but there it was. A large curbside compartment can accommodate a barbecue, a bad of charcoal, a lantern and even a few logs for a campfire. Just to the rear of the door is another, smaller storage area that provides access clear across the rear of the rig. Fishing gear, a shovel and an ax can easily fit into this compartment.
On the street side exterior access doors for the 5-gallon propane tank (with sight gauge), water heater and electric/cable-TV hookup. The coach’s deep cycle battery is also kept on this side, behind a vented door. Battery access is excellent.
The Model 500 is built on the Toyota chassis cab. Dolphin has re-certified the Toyota chassis gross vehicle weight rating to 5950 pounds (~3 tons). The rear-axle rating has also been increased to 4250, which is 550 pounds over Toyota’s 3700-pound rating. Dolphin was able to achieve this higher rating by redesigning the spring hangers and shackles, adding air bags and re-calibrating the brake system’s proportioning valve. Toyota’s front axle rating of 2050 pounds remains the same. Our weight slip from the scales showed the rear axle weighing in a 3360 pounds, leaving an 890-pound reserve capacity. Tire capacity is more than adequate; with duals in the rear, it’s a whopping 6100 pounds (3.05 tons)! In past years, design of the rear drive axle was semi floating; now, it’s full-floating. A semi-floating axle must do two jobs: support the weight of the vehicle and drive the wheels. A full floating axle drives only the wheels. Vehicle weight is carried entirely by the hub assembly, which is supported by two large roller bearings that send the load on to the differential housing.
The new wheels that Toyota is using are built to heavy-duty truck specifications. The center sections feature an extra-wide, six-lug-bolt pattern for good load distribution. All wheels are interchangeable; the spare tire will fit any wheel position.
Dolphin has always offered colorful yet tasteful interior appointments and fabrics. The micro-mini line is no exception. Rather than the usual earth tones, a luxurious soft gray blue theme is carried throughout. Light metallic maroon striping and graphics on the outside make for a sharp-looking rig. Interior paneling is light oak, which goes perfectly with the fabrics. Lighting is handled by an abundance of incandescent fixtures and some well-placed high-intensity reading lights.
The cabover-bed area is roomy and comfortable, allowing two adults to sleep comfortably on the 5-inch-thick foam foundation. A handy carpeted step is built in directly behind the passenger seat in the cockpit and a wall-mounted handle is located in just the right place to provide easy access to the cabover bed.
|Additional Included Equipment or Accessories:
CD Player in Cab
Roof Air conditioner
661 477 4138
|More Photos and or Information can be found here:
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