Thanks for all the advice. I think I have now mentally prepared myself for the inevitable problems involved with repairing a vintage trailer as well as the time it will take. I recently retired so I do have the time. I intend on using this forum frequently to assist me in the process.
I think what "worries" me the most is the dang plumbing part, I have a friend here in AK who is good at that though so not too worried and I'll tell ya, YouTube works wonder's when it comes to trying to figure something out. I just bout a 76 Coachmen and I'm excited to make it how I want it to be that's for sure.
My first camper was a small fiberglass one and it was in great shape. I had to sell it because my sister needed money to pay a big medical bill and she was in need of help. So I sold it before I could enjoy it.
So after working hard to recoup my funds, I sought out another camper. The small vintage fiberglass ones are few and command a high price to begin with. So I looked for a wood/aluminum that could better fit my needs.
I guess I'm one of those nuts who could not find a new camper in my price range, that was not ugly, could be safely towed with my car, that met my requirements, and did not come with a toilet. Ugg, I did not want a rolling toilet! I not only wanted a camper that I could repair to my satisfaction, but I became addicted to the search...while camper #1 frame is being restored, the new axle took almost 6 weeks to come in so what did I do? I found another to work on while I waited and waited. Now I have another trailer that is in "frame up" condition but I have minimal space left to work on it, the thunderstorms roll in, and my parts are decorating my house because I have filled my allotted space in my garage bay!
Come on in and have a beer, just move over that stack of aluminum windows would you please? Oh, and, don't mind all the rotted wood on the patio, I'm saving that...what is that? oh that's just a bucket of twisty nails and rusty screws, just put that aside next to the pieces of cabinets that I'm using as templates. When will it be done? oh, uh, well you see, uh,...let me get you another beer!
Post by livingstonatlarge on Apr 14, 2017 16:40:41 GMT -8
LOL....It's like a "Free horse".
So far my "Free trailer" has required a $2500 Suburban (THAT was an awesome deal). I got it home with the ranch truck, but really, I NEEDED a Suburban. (I'm the guy mentality of the marriage. My husband is the cook, laundry, shopping, vacuum cleaner nerd.)
Then I needed the Suburban to bring home the next trailer ($1000) so that my friend that's helping me rehab the first one would have a semi-habitable place to live as his family is moving and the rental availability here is .05%.
I'm scrounging materials from the Habitat Restore and freecycle. I also have a thing for beadboard, which is fun and cheap. Pretty sure though, it will still add up to surprising sums.
Somehow, I think, none of this surprises anyone here.
You need 4 things besides the desire and motivation to do a complete vintage camper restore....
1. A Budget... You don't need to have all the money on hand at once. As the money comes in go ahead and order the things you need. Install them as you get the time. But do sit down and take inventory on all the items you will need before you start so you know where you are going money wise.
2. My videos... I'm not a professional by any means and don't care to be one. I don't make my living doing this. Quite the opposite. I'm that guy who spends a ton of money building a $15k trailer and sells it for $12,500 so I can move on to the next one. But I got really tired of typing out instructions over and over so I began sharing my build experiences on You Tube. The videos are there to help you along and maybe make your restoral journey a better one. I don't claim to know it all but my videos will give you a good start. This forum will also help with your education.
3. This Forum... There is no better resource for vintage trailer information than this forum.
4. A place to do it... Having a place indoors to work on your trailer is always the best way to go but very few people actually have that option at their disposal. I have built all of my trailers outdoors and have had to hunker down for every type of weather except snow. That's where living in Southern California has benefited me the most but we do get our share of wind, hail, thunder and lightning and sometimes huge amounts of rain. And the real problem is that it can sometimes come up out of no where. One moment the skies are clear and a half hour later it's raining cats and dogs. So you must be prepared to shelter your project in some way. Tarps work but they don't last. Wind and the sun will just eat them alive. I highly suggest you spend some of your money on a metal cover because once you are finished you will want a nice shelter for your beauty anyhow.
Don't be afraid to ask questions here folks because there really is no such thing as a stupid question in this hobby. Might be a lot of stupid answers so take it all in and do your homework. Research is key. Patience is also key. This is a hobby, not a race. Enjoy and good luck to you all.
Post by kimberley58 on Jan 12, 2018 14:19:30 GMT -8
I like the gold and blue wall paper on this page. I bought a 1958 Siesta today. It is not in great shape (but I would say good shape). She is darling. We are the same age and I could tell she really wanted to come home with me. I know nothing about restoring a camper. but I can hardly wait to get started. I pick her up tomorrow and right now I feel like I had a baby and left her at the hospital. Anyway, I am probably going to be asking a lot of questions. My first one is about tires. The tires are good but I am going to buy new ones and make sure everything is good in that department. If I just go down to the local A & A tire shop and tell them I need 2 tires do I need to know anything else? I apologize if I am asking ?'s on the wrong page but I will eventually figure it out. Also...is it a bad idea to paint the wood interior? I read that on some random site.
Definitely a bad idea to paint the interior. You lose 1/2 the value of the trailer in a paint stroke. Also, repairs should be done from the outside in with the skins lifted. Please watch Mobiltec's videos on repairing canned hams. They can have a lot of unseen rot that can't be reached from the inside.
The big thing is to make sure they don't put car tires on your lil honey. I would assume that's a no brainier for them, but good to make sure.
Ask for trailer tires or trailers that have T in the sizing for light truck tire. I assume you will be pulling the trailer down to the tire shop. That way, they can judge the weight of the trailer and give you tires that meet that capacity.
Finally, you will have to decide radials or bias ply. That's always a point of contention on any forum.
Personally, I prefer radials. They run cooler and are a softer ride. On an old trailer, soft might be what you want. Softer to me means more bumps tamed by the tires before they get to the rest of the trailer. Just my opinion. 😊
"If there is no chance of failure, there is no point in doing it. It goes without saying it, I fail a lot.” - NCCamper
Post by northwestgertie on Apr 28, 2018 19:58:19 GMT -8
New owner here of a 1967 Northwest Coach Little Dipper. Man oh man, can I relate to much of the previous posts. We bought our first trailer a few months ago after attending a vintage trailer rally last year and catching the trailer bug. We knew we had some past water damage to address, however the termite damage we discovered in the floor was a surprise! As far as we can tell it was isolated to a few beams in the subfloor. Luckily, my boyfriend has great building/repair skills and the tools to complete the tasks. We definitely came into this hobby more than a little naively but we are learning so much from forums like this as well as the many friendly folks at trailer rallies. We want Gertie to be sturdy first and foremost and then the quaint touches can be added. Mostly, I just want to finish the job so we can put her on the road and have some adventures! Thanks for all the great information on this site! Scarlett