Basically the title. I recently acquired a 12' Jet slide in camper. For those that are curious the camper brand was made in Utah in the 60's, they made Shasta-esq trailers and truck campers. The truck campers are almost impossible to find pictures of online sadly and I've only seen 3 in the 5 years i've been looking. Anyway I bought it $400 and have come to find that the front two corners are rotted to hell and will need to be redone. I've done minor wood work with my dad on some trailers but how do I even begin with a slide in camper?
Also the thing is easily the heaviest camper I have actually seen in person. The gmc sierra 2500 it was on was definitely strained. I'm worried improper repair will result in it falling over or caving to its own weight. I am new to all this and will appreciate any and all input
What you have is basically a vintage camper without wheels. It uses the truck wheels instead... Truck campers do tend to be very heavy and the corners are important to support the jacks. I've seen them collapse more than once.
So, what you have to do is take it apart, fix it, and put it back together. If it is the usual stick and tin construction, that is accomplished by removing the skins and roof, then repairing the structure. You will have the opportunity to possibly build a lighter frame but the corner should still be beefy. (aluminum studs?)
A riveted bodied camper is repaired a little differently but I'd have to see the structure before giving advice, as I've never rebuilt one.
I would love to post pictures but its very dark here when i put all this together and should be able to get pictures by Friday afternoon or so. So i take off the sheeting on the sides and then just plug-out and plug in wood as needed?
Sort of. Taking the sheeting off entails tedious nail and staple picking. Remove the trim, then the roof/front/rear metal. You may have to rebuild a whole side and especially the overhang portion. Once you get the skins off, you'll see what needs to be done.
In case you're wondering that dark rotted wood at the bottom was so soft you could poke right through it with needle nose pliers with nor resistance. Looks like not just the corner needs to be redone but the flooring too. I'll have more hours to work on it tomorrow and ill take off the whole right side and post a picture of the damage
I’ve restored several campers and this type of extensive rot is very normal. The key question that comes to mind is the floor issue. Are the walls sitting on the floor or attached to the framing underneath? If the walls do not sit on the floor, you can repair framing piece by piece working from the bottom up. This is the surest way to know the old skin will fit when you’re finished. If you’re getting new skin (I’ve bought from hemetvalleyrv.com) it won’t matter as much. Many people find using the old walls as a template and rebuilding all the walls and floor actually works faster when the rot has spread too far.
Piece by piece rebuild.
Finish without the side curving which is plywood in layers:
I think you should take all the metal off this camper to do repairs. You will be able to see what needs to be done plus get to every area, including the floor. You might have to take it all the way down to get to the floor.
it seems to be the same style as style number 1 but with a large plywood sheet. I dont have a picture of it sadly but it definitely doesnt look like the other style. Sadly this camper has absolutely zero info about it so there's not much to go off of.
I'll go ahead and post today's progress and the grave I found.
the makers went a little over with the staples so This thing is a crawl to work on. Also, the screws holding the rotted 1x4 to the side of the camper were so rusted that they would break. I ended up having to use some alternate methods and some strength to get the wood off in multiple pieces and accept that I would have to repair the thin wood walls in the interior which you can see has a hole on the far right side. what is that material called? It is extremely thin but clearly still wood.
The whole frame under the bathroom will probably need to be rebuilt so i Bought some wood today before the home depots close due to the virus